Published: 00:00, 03 August 2016
Nikki Bull has ended his search for a goalkeeper by signing a 19-year-old Reading Academy prospect.
Lewis Ward will move to Hartsdown initially on a six-month loan deal although Margate will have the option to extend the arrangement if all parties agree.
Bull revealed he had been quietly keeping tabs on Ward since the end of last season, but said that it is only recently that he has been able to push the deal through.
Ward - who recently signed a contract extension at the Madejski Stadium -went out on loan to Icelandic club Fylkir FC immediately the domestic season ended and then joined up with the Royals first team for a short tour of Holland.
Gate boss Bull explained: "Lewis is very highly thought of at Reading and we are delighted to have got him.
"The situation has been ongoing since the end of the season and Reading have been great about things. We see it as a compliment that they have entrusted us with his development.
"He's another one who knows where he wants to get and what he needs to do to get there. He wants to play regularly and Reading feel he can best do that with us. It's a win-win situation."
Ward, who represented Reading's under-21s on a number of occasions last season, made his Gate debut in the 2-0 win over Faversham in July and has also played in the wins over Leatherhead, Hendon and Ramsgate.
Bull added: "Lewis is 6ft4, he's confident and he kicks the ball a mile, an attribute which will come in handy when the wind blows in at Hartsdown."
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