BASINGSTOKE Town manager Jason Bristow has backed striker Kezie Ibe to fill the void left by Ben Wright.
Wright has gone back to parent club Salisbury City after his month-long loan spell at the Camrose came to an end. The 25-year-old’s return to his hometown club was hampered by the wet weather, with the striker playing just three games.
However, he did make a difference to the side. His hold-up play was particularly impressive and he provided Bristow with a different option in attack.
The Town boss has said that he will remain in contact with Salisbury manager Mikey Harris in case Wright becomes available again. However, he does not expect the striker to be at the Camrose for Saturday’s game against Concord Rangers (kick-off 3pm).
Bristow said: “We did not get as many games as we would have liked out of Ben because of the weather and it is disappointing that we were not able to keep hold of him – but it’s a chance for someone else.”
That chance looks set to go to Ibe, who has a decent scoring record despite failing to really hit the heights since signing for Town in the summer. He has found the net eight times in 23 appearances and, while three of those goals have come in the Hampshire Senior Cup, he is the club’s second-highest scorer this season.
“Kezie has been getting better and better over the last few weeks,” Bristow added. “This could be an opportunity for him to show everyone what he can do.”
Ibe was on the scoresheet as Town beat Concord 2-1 on the opening day of the season and while the Essex side made a slow start, they have picked up of late and go into Saturday’s game just one point and one place behind their hosts.
Bristow said: “Concord are a strong side. It will be a test physically but if we pass the ball as well as we can, hopefully we can move them around and cause them problems.”
Bristow is hoping that his other loan star, midfielder Matt Partridge, will be available for the game, while Jordace Holder-Spooner and Andrew Jenkinson are expected to overcome minor injuries and be in contention.
Town are in action again on Monday night, travelling to Boreham Wood for another Conference South fixture (kick-off 7.45pm).
“Boreham Wood have got some good players and will be very tough to beat,” Bristow said. “We have got to try and pick up a lot of points in February. We need to win games like the ones coming up on Saturday and Monday.”
Visit basingstokegazette.co.uk/sport for live text coverage from both of the weekend’s games.