Smith launches hunt for striker

Marcin Wojtak
Marcin Wojtak

A STRIKER is top of Nicky Smith’s January shopping list with AFC Sudbury set to be hit by losing free-scoring pair James Baker and Rhys Darg by the end of the month.

The duo, who have hit 25 goals so far this season, almost half of AFC’s total of 53, are set to leave a huge hole when midfielder Darg returns to Sweden and forward Baker undergoes surgery.

Baker is set to be sidelined for at least six weeks while he recovers from a knee clear-out operation, while Darg is planning to return back to Sweden for work reasons, where he will be looking for a club to resume playing.

AFC chief Smith, who was left fuming after Tuesday’s 5-1 home drubbing against Enfield Town, following Saturday’s 2-1 win over Heybridge Swifts with 10 men, said: “We are still in talks with Rhys, but I believe at the end of January he is going back to Sweden. He has scored a lot of goals and big James Baker is going for an operation at the end of the month and they are big losses, but we just have to get on with it and kick on.

“Hopefully I am looking to bring in another striker, I have been in talks with other managers the last few days trying to sort things out, so we will see how it maps out.”

Sudbury, who are eighth in the Ryman League Division One North table, five points off the play-offs, travel to Ware (16th) on Saturday (3pm) before another away game at Cheshunt (15th) on Tuesday (7.45pm) with Smith looking for his players to bounce back after the Enfield defeat.

“We played Heybridge and got beat 5-1 (September) and I looked for a response and that is something we have to do again. We have 24 cup finals coming up and we need to make sure we get on a winning run again,” he said.

“I still have belief in the squad, it is just the manner of the defeat and they have been left in no uncertain terms how I feel.

“At training Thursday I will be looking for a response and then on Saturday looking to bounce back again. If we want to do something we have to beat the likes of Ware and Cheshunt.”