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Josh Ajayi invited back by Tottenham Hotspur while Stevenage await decision - but Ramsgate forward could stay put

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Josh Ajayi could end up staying at Ramsgate after all as the forward considers his options.

The 19-year-old, who’s scored 17 league goals for the Rams this season, has been invited back for a second week of training with Tottenham under-23s.

Ramsgate forward Josh Ajayi Picture: Ian Scammell
Ramsgate forward Josh Ajayi Picture: Ian Scammell

There’s also a firm offer on the table from League 2 club Stevenage, as well as interest from several other teams.

Rams boss Matt Longhurst said last week he expected the former Crystal Palace academy player to leave Southwood but it’s by no means a foregone conclusion.

“Josh did well at Spurs, they want him in again this week,” said Longhurst.

“He’s got Stevenage on the table as well and he’s got a big decision to make.

“That decision-making process includes staying where he is as well. The next move is a big move for him.

“He’s spent a little bit of time bouncing about after leaving Palace, he had trials at QPR and Cardiff before finding his way to us, where he’s learning the game and enjoying his football.

"He’s got to weigh up his options in terms of is he convinced these two moves are right and, if not, will waiting do him any harm?

" I think the next 48 hours will tell us more. It’s completely in his hands.

“We’ve put no pressure on him. It’s not like we’re trying to force through a move because we’ll make some money.

"It might be like that across non-league when there’s a fee involved but it’s not about money for us.

“If he does move on, fantastic; if he stays with us, fantastic."

It would be hard to imagine a non-league footballer turning down the chance to join Tottenham but Longhurst understands why Ajayi might.

“If an offer from Spurs comes in, he’s got to weigh that up," said the Rams boss.

“He’s gone from focusing on Ramsgate and enjoying his football to all this media attention.

"He’s now got some big life decisions to make and, at 19, how many of us were in a position where we wanted to make life-changing decisions?

"He’s been in that arena, he’s played for Palace under-23s, he knows how it plays out.

Former Dartford striker Tom Bradbrook has linked up with Ramsgate Picture: Andy Payton
Former Dartford striker Tom Bradbrook has linked up with Ramsgate Picture: Andy Payton

“It’s a big decision for a 19-year-old. He wants to take his time rather than jump in with both feet and six months down the line think he's made the wrong choice.”

Ramsgate, anticipating Ajayi’s exit, signed former Dartford, Margate and Sittingbourne striker Tom Bradbrook, after a long spell out of football.

He came on for his debut in Saturday’s 2-1 comeback win over Sevenoaks at Southwood but immediately tweaked his groin.

“We’ll see how he is,” said Longhurst.

“It might be 10 days, it might be two weeks. When you pass 30 it can take longer to recover but even a fit Tom Bradbrook for the last eight weeks of the season would be massive for us.

"He’s still got all the same qualities he had before.”

Jamie Coyle made amends for a comical own goal by scoring the equaliser against Sevenoaks, with TJ Jadama grabbing the second-half winner as Rams went fifth in Isthmian South East.

“We’re getting this a lot at home where teams come and sit behind the ball, leave one up and give you no space to play,” said Longhurst.

“We’ve spent time on the training ground going through how to play teams who do that.

“We’ve scored from two set-pieces, we should have had a penalty and we had another goal not given that’s a foot over the line when we watched it back.

"Four-one would look more convincing but at this stage, the only thing that matters is getting the points.”

Ramsgate hope to have a new midfielder in place for their game at Faversham on Saturday.

The Salters Lane pitch is a far cry from Rams’ 3G carpet and they’ll have to adapt their game.

“The pitch is a shambles, from what I’ve heard,” said Longhurst. “I’m looking forward to seeing the state of it but, ultimately, the level we’re at, you have to combat these conditions.

"We’d be silly to go there and try and play the way we do at home. We have to adapt to suit the pitch.”

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