FRANK Gray is hoping to add to his striking options by signing New Zealand international Greg Draper.

The 6ft 1in forward was born in Somerset but grew up in New Zealand and made his debut for the All Whites in a World Cup qualifier against Fiji two years ago.

After spells at Melbourne Knights in Australia and Team Wellington in his homeland, Draper has decided to try his luck in England.

He started Basingstoke Town’s friendly against a Reading XI on Monday night and showed signs of promise – though he is lacking match fitness.

Draper, who turns 21 next week, is a tall, powerful striker and would seem to be a good replacement for Ross Montague. He scored 10 goals in 16 games for Wellington in the New Zealand Football Championship last season.

Gray said: “Greg is a good size and similar in a lot of ways to Ross Montague. He is a player I have spoken to a few people about and they have a high opinion of him. He impressed us on Monday and we would like to get him on board.”

Gray also revealed that he had been close to signing striker Warren McBean – a player he managed at Farnborough.

McBean has scored 22 goals for Bromley in each of the last two seasons but decided that travelling to Basingstoke three times a week was too much.

“I have spoken to Warren a few times and we were very close to signing him,” the Town boss said. “His terms were not a problem but having to travel from his home in south London was and I think he will probably go back to Bromley.”

Basingstoke were in action for the second night running on Tuesday, when Gray gave some of his fringe players and some of the academy squad the chance to shine away at Corinthian Casuals.

Town took the lead through Jahson Downes in the first half but the home side levelled from a penalty after the break and struck twice more late on to claim a 3-1 win.

Basingstoke will play their final pre-season game on Saturday, when they travel to Southern League outfit Salisbury City (kick-off 3pm).

Gray plans to send out a strong side but David Pratt (hamstring) and Robert Rice (groin) could be rested as a precaution.