Dubi challenged to fire AFC into play-offs

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by Russell Claydon

NICKY Smith has challenged new AFC Sudbury striker Dubi Ogbonna to hit at least double figures for the club between now and the end of the season.

The Yellows boss believes the former Soham Town Rangers frontman, who opened his account to win Sudbury all three points on Saturday, should be easily capable of a one-in-two strike rate over the remaining 17 games.

Ogbonna, who had nine goals already this campaign prior to the weekend, was taken on trial by Scottish giants Celtic over the summer and moved to King’s Marsh last week to progress his ambitions of making it in the professional game.

Smith said of his Harlow Town match-winning goal: “It was a great strike, he turned the centre-half and that is what we brought him here for.

“He has to work on his fitness but once he settles in hopefully he’ll score a hatful of goals.

“He should be looking to get double figures easily, I think he will be disappointed if he could not do it.”

And Smith revealed 19-year-old Ogbonna, who came into AFC’s strating line-up to replace suspended hat-trick hero Lee Townrow, could form a mouth-watering frontline with 13-goal club top scorer James Baker sooner than expected.

The former Billericay Town frontman, who underwent surgery to clean up his knee last month, is said to be making good progress in his rehabilitation programme and could be back on the pitch in two weeks time, ahead of schedule.

“James Baker’s rehab is going well and, hopefully, in two to three weeks we will have him back,” said Smith.

“Him and Ogbonna up top would be a handful for anyone.”

And Smith is also hopeful of adding an experienced defender who has been playing regularly in the Blue Square Bet South before the trip to sixth-placed Enfield Town on Saturday (3pm), where AFC will be looking to leapfrog them with their third straight win.

“I would like to get two more in to finish my squad,” said Smith, “one defender and one midfielder, now we have James Baker coming back there is no need to bring in another striker.”

Smith, whose seventh-placed side then face another big home match in their defining month, with Waltham Abbey (12th) visiting the Mel Group Stadium on Tuesday (7.45pm), has revealed the ex-Football League striker he made a failed attempt to sign was former Sheffield United, Bury and Lincoln City journeyman Tony Battersby, now at Stamford.

Townrow will serve the last of his two-game suspension on Saturday, with Smith otherwise having a full squad to choose from, with the exception of Baker.