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Ashford United manager Tommy Warrilow speaks about his move for Kennington striker Gary Lockyer


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Ashford boss Tommy Warrilow was determined not to miss out on prolific striker Gary Lockyer.

Warrilow had been monitoring the forward, who has joined the Nuts & Bolts after scoring 20 goals for Homelands tenants Kennington this season.

Jay May brushes off Tom Wynter in Ashford's 4-0 win over Hythe Picture: Ian Scammell
Jay May brushes off Tom Wynter in Ashford's 4-0 win over Hythe Picture: Ian Scammell

He made his interest known to Ton boss Dan Scorer and, with other clubs circling, made his move.

“He’s on our doorstep, we knew about him and what he was doing,” said Warrilow.

“We knew he’d got himself fit and was banging hat-tricks in.

"I spoke to Dan, the manager, and said to him if you are going to lose him give me a heads-up because I’ll have him here all day long.

“I left it at that because Gal was getting game time and banging goals in, so it was win-win for everyone.

A first Ashford goal for defender Dan Hull in the win over Hythe Picture: Ian Scammell
A first Ashford goal for defender Dan Hull in the win over Hythe Picture: Ian Scammell

“Eventually he was getting loads of approaches, so I spoke to Dan and Gal and did the deal.

“We knew everybody was all over him, you know what football’s like.

“You keep an eye on who’s banging in goals and who’s not and he’s right up there.

“He’s played this level before and he’s decided to give it one last go."

Ashford fans will have to wait for Lockyer’s debut - he’s away this week and misses Saturday’s trip to struggling Phoenix - but he’ll soon be banging in the goals for his hometown club.

Delight for Josh Wisson as Ashford go 2-0 up on Hythe Picture: Ian Scammell
Delight for Josh Wisson as Ashford go 2-0 up on Hythe Picture: Ian Scammell

Warrilow said: “Like I said to him, it’s not a massive jump from Southern Counties East.

“You look at teams like Chatham and Sheppey in the league he’s coming from - there’s good players in there.

“I feel we can improve the parts of his game that might need improving but he’s not here on trial, he’s here because he’s proven and I think he’s a great signing for us.

“It was most important that if he was going to jump that we didn’t miss out on him.

“It helps that we see him every Thursday (at Homelands).

Ashford defender Mamadou Diallo celebrates making it 3-0 against Hythe with Johan ter Horst and Jay May Picture: Ian Scammell
Ashford defender Mamadou Diallo celebrates making it 3-0 against Hythe with Johan ter Horst and Jay May Picture: Ian Scammell

“I popped down the other week to have a chat with him and another two clubs had been in that day.

“It was inevitable they were going to lose him, I just wanted to make sure it was to us.

“He’s an Ashford boy as well, he played for the club when they reformed and he has unfinished business here.

"There’s no pressure on him. Like I say to everyone, I want him to come in and enjoy his football and give everything he’s got.

“That’s all you ask of players and then it’s up to us to polish bits up.

Roberto Ratti is denied by Hythe keeper Henry Newcombe Picture: Ian Scammell
Roberto Ratti is denied by Hythe keeper Henry Newcombe Picture: Ian Scammell

“It’s not a massive jump, it’s one level, and I’m sure he’s capable of that and the level above, I’d imagine.”

Ashford impressed in a 4-0 home win over Kent rivals Hythe last Saturday, a result that left them three points off top spot in Isthmian South East.

Dan Hull gave them a half-time lead, with Josh Wisson, Mamadou Diallo and Johan ter Horst completing a comprehensive victory.

“Four-nil in a local derby is a fantastic result and, if anything, it could have been more,” said Warrilow.

“We knew it would be a tough game - Hythe are a good side - but it’s another three points towards our main goal of getting out of this league.”

Johan ter Horst completes the scoring in Ashford's win over Hythe Ian Scammell
Johan ter Horst completes the scoring in Ashford's win over Hythe Ian Scammell

Warrilow is wary of the threat posed by bottom side Phoenix this Saturday, after they reappointed Steve O’Boyle, their Southern Counties East title-winning manager.

They’re five points from safety but that means nothing.

Warrilow said: “I know them all down there and it’s always tough when a team has a new manager.

“Sometimes these games are harder than going to Hastings. If we win, we’re supposed to, and, if we lose, you get a total over-reaction.”

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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