Gale swoops to pep up strike force

Mark Nwokeji, Dagenham and Redbridge
Mark Nwokeji, Dagenham and Redbridge
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Hawks manager Shaun Gale has swooped to add pace and power to his strike force in the shape of AFC Wimbledon’s Mark Nwokeji.

The West Leigh Park boss was able to beat off competition from Blue Square Premier sides to entice the 29-year-old to the south coast.

And Gale reckons the London-based player is a great prospect.

‘He is a player I have been tracking for a while and I nearly had him on loan last season,’ said the manager.

‘He didn’t play a massive amount of games at AFC Wimbledon last season and felt he didn’t get a fair crack of the whip.

‘So he will be coming to us with the bit between the teeth and, maybe, something to prove.

‘He had offers from clubs in the middle to lower half of the premier division but we managed to persuade him we are an up-and-coming club looking to get out of our league.’

Nwokeji played for Charlton Athletic and Colchester at academy level and is a former national schoolboy 200m champion.

After spells at numerous non-league clubs, he joined Staines Town and scored 33 times in their 2007-08 Ryman Premier campaign.

Staines eventually lost out in the play-offs before Nwokeji moved on to League Two outfit Dagenham & Redbridge, where he made an instant impact, scoring on his debut in the 6-0 defeat of Chester City.

After five goals in 20 matches, he suffered serious knee ligament damage that sidelined him for nine months.

On his return in November 2009, he had a successful loan spell in the Blue Square Premier with Luton Town before signing for AFC Wimbledon in June 2010.

At Kingsmeadow, he was restricted to just seven appearances but still found the net twice.

Meanwhile, Gale remains hopeful of pulling off a coup with the capture of experienced hitman Lee Peacock.

Peacock was with Grimsby in the Blue Square Premier last season and boasts impressive Football League experience with Bristol City, Swindon, Sheffield Wednesday and Manchester City.

‘It is all down to finance and we are not a million miles away,’ said Gale.

‘You can’t blame the player because he hasn’t long come out of the league and it is a case of coming up with a suitable package.’