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Sheppey United's Southern Counties East League title push boosted by arrival of former Canterbury City striker Dean Grant

Sheppey United have pulled off another big signing with the capture of striker Dean Grant.

Ites boss Ernie Batten revealed last week he was in the market for a forward to complete his title-chasing squad and Grant fits the bill.

Dean Grant in full flight during his Canterbury City days Picture: Alan Langley
Dean Grant in full flight during his Canterbury City days Picture: Alan Langley

He’s returning to fitness after suffering a dislocated shoulder at previous club Canterbury and had been training with Herne Bay.

Batten said: “He brings pace and he scores goals – he’s a quality striker.

“He’s been out injured for a couple of months but he’s a naturally fit lad and hopefully he can be a big help to us in the last 13 or 14 games.

“We’ve got Laurent Hamici out with a hip injury and we needed someone in case anything happens to Dan Bradshaw.

“There’s no reason why he can’t come in and play up front with Dan in a 4-4-2 formation.

“That’s what we were doing earlier in the season with Laurent.

“Dean gives us that option or we’ve got the 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 that we have been playing.

“I’ve been chasing him for a little while now.

“He’s good friends with Ben Smith, the Herne Bay manager, and he’d been training with them.

“I spoke to Ben, thinking they would probably sign him, but they’ve got their strikers so he was happy to let him come here.”

Grant scored on his debut in Ites’ 4-3 Southern Counties East home win against Canterbury on Tuesday. Dan Bradshaw (2) and George Crimmen also struck.

Ites visit AFC Croydon this Saturday.

Meanwhile, Batten has paid tribute to Hicham Akhazzan after announcing the winger’s departure.

The former Sittingbourne man has joined league rivals Punjab United after limited action at Holm Park.

Batten said: “He’s been out injured and hasn’t had the minutes he would have liked.

“He wants to play regular football and I fully understand that.

“We’re sad to see him go because he’s been fantastic for Sheppey and, before that, he was a real stalwart at Sittingbourne.

“Some players move around to chase a bob or two but he’s a fantastic person and a fantastic player and I can’t speak highly enough of him.

“He’s only 31 or 32 and he still has a lot to offer.

“He wants to be playing week in, week out, and we’ve got to be fair to him. I wish him all the best.”

Barring any serious injuries, Sheppey are unlikely to make any more signings for the promotion run-in, having also added Chris Webber and Jordan Wright recently.

Batten added: “If we’d started the season with this squad, we’d be in a great position now.

“We want to go up this year but if we don’t make it we want to be strong for next season.”

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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