Matt proves a handfulMatt Smith's progress in recent weeks has delighted Latics' manager Paul Dickov.
The departure of Matt Derbyshire opened the door for the 6ft 6in striker to establish a starting spot at Boundary Park.
Smith (pictured), recruited from non-league Solihull Moors in the summer of 2011, has kicked off the last five matches and proved a handful for opposing defences.
It has been a stark contrast to Smith's first 18 months at the club in which he made only seven starts.
Dickov said: "It was a massive learning curve for Matt.
"It has been great to get Matt involved in the last few games and he has been a proper handful.
"It is always a gauge what opposing managers say and against Doncaster, Scunthorpe and Nottingham Forest they all enquired where we had got the bid lad from."
Latics' manager added he was delighted with the character Smith showed on Saturday after scoring an early own goal.
He continued: "It would have been easy for his head to drop, but he showed a lot of desire and character.
"Matt does a lot of unselfish work, creates chances for others and shows a willingness to get on the end of things.
"He is also a handful for defenders who cannot take their eye off the ball."
Latics' manager also believes it is only a matter of time before the goal come for Smith who has chances in every game and who has also had the misfortune of having goals ruled out.
Smith has made 12 starts for Latics and a further 47 appearances as a substitute scoring six goals.