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Herne Bay boss Steve Lovell says 25-goal top scorer Michael Salako likely to be a target for other clubs this summer

Herne Bay manager Steve Lovell is anticipating interest in top scorer Michael Salako over the summer.

Salako has enjoyed the most prolific season of his career in his debut campaign at Winch’s Field, scoring 25 goals.

Manager Steve Lovell says Michael Salako’s Herne Bay future is out of his hands. Picture: Randolph File
Manager Steve Lovell says Michael Salako’s Herne Bay future is out of his hands. Picture: Randolph File

Like everyone else in the squad, the forward will be invited back to pre-season training.

But Lovell, whose side complete the Isthmian South East season at home to Chichester on Saturday (3pm), knows Salako is likely to have his suitors.

“There most probably will be teams who are interested in him,” said Lovell.

“If someone comes in and he wants to go, there’s nothing much we can do about it. All we can do with all the players is hope they want to stay with us and give it a go.

“That’s the difference when you’re at a Football League club.

When I was at Gillingham I had players on contract and so you knew where you were. Nobody’s on contract here so they can pick and choose what they want to do. We’ll see how the next three or four weeks pan out.

“With Michael, I think this is by far the most goals he’s scored in a season, so he’s done well. He’s that fox in the box, that’s where he get his goals.

“He’s always in the right place at the right time. He works hard and he’s a lovely lad but it’s up to him what he wants to do.

“We’ll have talks with the players in the next few weeks but I won’t be offering any deals in the meantime because I need to know what the club are doing and what the situation is for next year.

“Once I know, I can start talking to people. We’ve had a decent season and it’s that time of year when everyone’s wondering about the squad for next year.

“What I’ve always done at clubs is invite everyone back. If they get themselves sorted out you can’t do anything about that but there’s no way I’m going to get rid of anybody at this stage after being with us all year.

“It’s a matter of finding out what we’ve got and having a look during pre-season to see where we can improve.”

Herne Bay, beaten 4-2 at champions-elect Cray Valley last weekend, go into the final game clear in eighth place. They’ll move up to seventh if they better Sheppey’s result against East Grinstead.

Bay were in play-off contention for much of the season before falling away in recent weeks.

“It’s been a good league,” said Lovell. “The football’s been good and the teams have been good - I’ve really enjoyed it.

“We’ve had a good go. We’ve just fallen short but where we finish is where we should be because we’ve made too many mistakes that have cost us points.

“We’ve ended up drawing games we should have won and that’s what’s cost us.

“We could have squeezed into the play-offs but I think it was that Ashford game over Easter that did for us. We’d been on a good run before going there but we didn’t play well there in the first half and ended up losing.

“We’ve had our ups and downs but overall it’s been a decent season and hopefully we can improve and go one step further next season.”

Salako and Liam Friend scored Bay’s goals in their defeat at Cray Valley.

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