Needham Market manager chasing loan striker, ahead of Bostik Premier clash with Wingate & Finchley

Richard Wilkins

Richard Wilkins - Credit: Archant

Needham Market manager Richard Wilkins has expressed his surprise at the impact of new signing Ryan Gibbs, but remains in the loan market for a new striker, ahead of Saturday’s Bostik Premier home clash with Wingate & Finchley.

Gibbs, signed in the summer on dual-registration forms with Thurlow Nunn Premier Division side Walsham Le Willows, scored on his full league debut for the Marketmen in Tuesday night’s 2-1 home victory over Thurrock.

The youngster, predominantly a winger, scored to put Needham two-goals up and provided a welcome boost for Wilkins, who remains without star striker John Sands, who has nerve damage in his foot.

It is unclear how long Sands will be out, while forward Luke Ingram will serve a one-match ban next Saturday when Needham travel to Folkestone Invicta, after collecting two yellow cards against Thurrock.

Summer signing from Long Melford, Jamie Griffiths, meanwhile, remains sidelined as he recovers from a long-term knee injury, leaving Wilkins thin on the ground in the final third.

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Wilkins, who was close to bringing in Dion Sembie-Ferris, before the recently-released Colchester United man joined St Neots, said: “We asked Ryan to come and join us in pre-season.

“He played in a couple of games and impressed us, but we weren’t sure if he was quite ready.

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“However, he has surprised us and has done well in the games he has played.

“It’s difficult when you are dealing with a player who is dual-registered, to know what to do with him, but he’s probably done enough to be involved on Saturday and will help bodies wise.”

On Sands’ injury, which has prompted Wilkins to look for a new face, the Marketmen boss explained: “John’s (Sands’) injury is a little bit like sciatica, but his injury is affecting the nerve that goes down his calf, and his heel.

“He said it could heal itself in two to three weeks, so we are trying to get someone in on-loan from a pro club.

“Ryan Gibbs can play there, as can Luke Ingram, while Jamie Griffiths is still probably five weeks away.”

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