Published: 06:00, 05 February 2020
Chris Lynch has told Roman Campbell he won’t be back at Sittingbourne for long.
Lynch was surprised to learn Campbell was being released by Gillingham and wasted no time getting on the phone.
The young striker, who’d been on loan at Margate, had a trial with Colchester and there was interest from other non-league clubs.
But after a couple of successful loan stints with Sittingbourne, including a five-goal spell at the start of this season, he’s decided to kickstart his career with the Brickies.
Manager Lynch has challenged Campbell to reel in 10-goal Johan Caney-Bryan and finish top scorer.
Lynch said: “I don’t know why Gillingham have let him go but the second I knew he was available, I was straight in there.
“I said to him, ‘right, I know clubs at higher levels are after you but you’ll get game time here, we want you here, let’s do a deal’.
“He had time to think about his options and, fair play, he’s decided to come back.
“It’s a fantastic signing for the club because he’s one of the best up-and-coming young strikers in my view, and he’ll go on to play at much higher levels.
“He can get himself back on the map here and he obviously trusts us.
“I’ve given him a target to finish top scorer.
“Johan’s on 10 and Sid Sollis is on nine, so it’s achievable in the games we have left. That’s the challenge for him.
“I’ve said to him, ‘if you do that and get your confidence back, you won’t be here for long, teams above will be back in’.
“Sometimes you have to take a couple of steps backwards to go forwards again and I’m just pleased we can offer him the platform to do that.”
Campbell’s former Gills team-mate Jimmy Witt has seen his loan spell at Sittingbourne cut short.
The chance to join Isthmian Premier Margate for a month came up on Friday and the deal was rushed through.
Lynch said: “Ultimately, anyone involved in football wants young players to do well.
“He did well for me and when the chance to play higher came up, of course I was going to help him.
“We rushed it through so he could play for Margate on the Saturday and good luck to him.
“He’s earned the right to go but we can say we’ve been part of his journey and helped push him on. That, to me, is success.”
Sittingbourne, who lost 1-0 at home to Ashford United in a rearranged Isthmian South East match on Tuesday night, visit play-off contenders Whitehawk on Saturday.
More by this authorCraig Tucker