Wessex League clubs keen to sign 55-goal Paulsgrove striker Zak Willett

Paulsgrove boss Wayne Grant is resigned to losing red-hot striker Zak Willett this summer.

By Lewis Mason
Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 12:31 pm
Zak Willett in action for Paulsgrove against Liphook last October. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Zak Willett in action for Paulsgrove against Liphook last October. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

The strike ace, 19, has enjoyed a stellar first season at the club, netting another double in Tuesday's 4-1 L4 Teamwear Challenge Cup group 7 triumph over Hampshire Premier League Division 1 Denmead at Front Lawn.

Plucked from Sunday League football last summer, Willett's Grove goal tally for the campaign stands at 19 goals in just 11 appearances.

What's more, he has also plundered an astonishing 36 goals in just 16 games for Portsmouth Sunday League side Southsea United, including 21 – 21! - in five cup ties.

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In total, that’s 55 goals in only 27 matches. And in those 27 games, Willett has only failed to score once (for Grove in a 2-1 win against Colden Common).

Grant revealed Wessex League Premier League clubs have already began to circle for the player who has collected nine hat-tricks in 2020/21.

In fact, Horndean boss Michael Birmingham was at Front Lawn on Tuesday to run the rule over Willett in a game where he scored twice.

Grant conceded the star striker will almost definitely be moving on this summer, but insisted he'd happily 'drag him to a new club myself' if it means a step up the footballing ladder.

Grant said: ‘We try to nurture them the right way, get them playing how we want to play, and other teams see that.

‘To me, that’s my job done, I’m never going to stand in the way of these players. We haven’t got the facilities at the Grove to keep them there for time.

'We’ve had players come in and go to higher things and I’ll often drive them to training and things because that’s the type of person I am. I don’t want to stand in anyone’s way.

'100 per cent (resigned to losing Zak). If he gets offered something I’ll happily drag him there myself.

‘There have been lots of clubs who have come in for him.

‘Once he gets what I call his man strength and his decision-making, he’ll be unplayable.

‘When he saw the physio they said he was running at 70 per cent velocity - he’s frighteningly quick as it is!

‘He’s got a lot to learn, he was a raw talent, we’ve polished him up a bit and he could be pushed onto that next level.'

Willett's double, along with goals from prolific strike partner Danny Lane and Reece Lewis, ensured Paulsgrove continued their perfect start in group 7 as they completed a group double over Denmead.

They sit top of the standings with maximum points from their opening three matches.

But despite Paulsgrove building momentum, Grant says he'll stick with the system of giving players minutes throughout the competition.

He added: 'We’ve been good to our word and we had four or five ressies playing against Denmead.

‘It’s such a quick turnaround, you’re going to get injuries and work and things so we are rotating as much as we can.

‘Even if you take Zak and Danny (Lane) out of the team our firepower is second to none, really.

‘It’s almost like Kevin Keegan's old style - we will outscore most teams.

‘This to me is just a pre, pre-season, the results to me mean absolutely nothing. I could just be really selfish and go full strength all the time.'

Grove host Clanfield this weekend before welcoming Harvest next Tuesday.