Published: 00:00, 29 December 2017
Maidstone are bracing themselves for interest in striker Joe Pigott.
Manager Jay Saunders believes his 12-goal leading scorer is too good for the National League and expects Football League clubs to be in touch during the January transfer window.
Pigott, 24, is happy playing regularly and scoring goals for his hometown club and particularly enjoys working with Saunders.
That won’t stop clubs testing the water, however, with the former Charlton player out of contract at the end of the season.
Saunders said: “I don’t think Pigs should be at this level.
“He’s a league player and I’m sure if he carries on doing what he’s doing there’ll be clubs looking at him.
“I’m sure there’ll be interest because he’s a young lad who’s scoring goals and he’s
got a bit of everything but we’ll see.
“I’m very much enjoying having him here and working with him.
“He’s great in the dressing room and the boys all respect him. He’s been excellent. Even if he’s not scoring goals his work rate’s outstanding.
“I know there were a lot of doubters but he’s the best centre-forward I’ve had play under me.”
Saunders believes Pigott has added the work rate to go with his talent since signing for Stones.
He made a big impact after joining on loan from Cambridge midway through last season and rejected Football League moves to sign a one-year deal at the Gallagher Stadium.
Saunders said: “Where Pigs has always been questioned is maybe his work rate and things like that but we’ve got that side out of him.
“I think he needed a run of 40-odd games when he came here.
“This season he’s played every game and his work rate’s been excellent. Managers he’s played under previously have all said to me it looks like his work rate’s improved and I think Joe’s realising that if he adds that to his game then it’s going to help.
“Certain players you have to manage in certain ways and I think he’s one. We’ve got a good understanding, a good relationship, and I like to think I can get the best out of him, which at the moment we seem to be doing.
“He always texts me to ask if he can come in and do extra training and it helps when you’ve got that attitude.”