Apostolos Stamatelopoulos arrived at the Newcastle Jets seeking a chance to play regularly.
With each game he is looking more likely to do so on a long-term basis.
As an 18-year-old striker, Stamatelopoulos debuted in the A-League for Adelaide and represented the Young Socceroos. Two seasons and 15 games later he was on his way to Western United, for whom he made 12 appearances, 10 of them off the bench.
Unable to join his third A-League club until the recent February transfer window, the man they call "AP" is quickly making up for lost time.
After debuting as a second-half substitute, he has become a regular in the starting line-up, playing the full 90 minutes in four of Newcastle's past six games.
In the process he has scored against his former Adelaide teammates and Melbourne Victory - his first A-League goals for almost two years - as well as earning a penalty for Roy O'Donovan to nail home in Tuesday's breakthrough 1-all draw with Perth Glory.
Given that Stamatelopoulos signed for only one season, Jets officials are expected to fast-track negotiations to extend his stay.
"AP hadn't played a lot of football in the previous 12 months or so, but he's been really good for us," Deans said.
"He's scored goals and created chances, and he's been a bit of positive for us during this run when we haven't been winning games. He's shown us that he's capable of playing at this level but he's still learning the game, so I think he'll keep improving. They're the sort of people you want around the club."
While Jets football manager Joel Griffiths views Stamatelopoulos as "a genuine No.9", the 22-year-old has been playing in a wider role for Newcastle to accommodate Irish veteran Roy O'Donovan as a central target man.
Meanwhile, Jets utility Jason Hoffman is in doubt for Sunday's clash with Macarthur Bulls at Campbelltown Stadium after aggravating a groin injury against Perth.
Hoffman missed six games earlier in the season with the injury and tweaked it in a tackle on Tuesday.
Scans have cleared him of any major damage and there is a chance he could play against the Bulls if he stretches out freely on Friday.
But the more likely scenario is that he will return against Melbourne City on Thursday, April 29.
If Hoffman is out, he will join an injury lost that already includes skipper Nigel Boogaard, Ben Kantarovski and Johnny Koutroumbis.
There is also uncertainty surrounding midfielder Steven Ugarkovic, who has missed the past three games amid speculation surrounding a possible mid-season release to join Western Sydney Wanderers.
Deans has spoken to Ugarkovic since the Jets returned from Coffs Harbour, and says if the 132-game veteran is 100 per cent fit, he'll be considered for selection.
Deans will assess how well Ugarkovic has recovered from a lower-back injury at training on Friday.