DELANO Sam-Yorke looks set to miss Saturday’s game against Maidenhead United – but his absence could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Basingstoke Town.
The in-form striker was left clutching his right hamstring after chasing a loose ball just 19 minutes into last week’s 3-1 win over Staines Town. He had to be substituted and is unlikely to feature at the Camrose on Saturday, when Town are due to host Maidenhead (kick-off 3pm).
Sam-Yorke’s absence will be keenly felt by Basingstoke, not least because the striker was in top form, scoring six goals in the first two games of 2013.
However, had his excellent run continued, clubs at a higher level may have started sniffing around Town’s prize asset during the January transfer window.
If an acceptable offer was to come in from a side in a higher division, Basingstoke would be unlikely to stand in the player’s way – so Sam-Yorke missing a couple of games in January may end up benefiting Town in the long-term.
Town boss Jason Bristow said: “In the January window clubs sometimes take a punt and when a player is scoring goals like Delano has been, they are going to get noticed.
“From a selfish point we want the best players here though and if he had scored a couple more goals on Saturday, who knows whether somebody would have come in for him.
“His name has been on the lips of a few managers and if he can score 15 or 20 goals between now and the end of the season, he might get a chance to move up the leagues in the summer.”
In addition to Sam-Yorke, Town will be without Reading youngster Ben Jefford due to a shin problem, while midfielder Nathan Campbell has been allowed to join Chesham United on loan. Shaun McAuley and Matt Warner could feature despite being substituted last week, while Robert Rice is expected to return from a dead leg.
The win over Staines was Town’s third in a row and lifted them up to 13th in the table – but they remain just one point above the relegation zone in a highly congested league.
Maidenhead go into Saturday’s game just two places and one point above Basingstoke. They are not in great form, having lost their last two and three of their last four – but Bristow is wary of the threat that they carry.
“Maidenhead are a bit of a bogey side for us,” he said. “They are scoring goals, so that is something we have to look out for, but so are we. I expect it to be an entertaining game between two sides looking to attack and score goals.”
One player desperate to score on Saturday will be Maidenhead’s David Pratt, who will return to the Camrose as an opposition player for the first time following his summer move to Berkshire.
“David was very popular here, both with the players and the fans so it will be great to see him,” Bristow added. “I just hope he does not come back to haunt us.”
Log on to basingstokegazette.co.uk/sport for live updates from the Camrose on Saturday – and see The Monday Gazette for a full report and reaction to the game.