Worthing hope to sign former Brighton striker

David Ajiboye pictured on loan for Worthing in 2017. Picture by Marcus Hoare
David Ajiboye pictured on loan for Worthing in 2017. Picture by Marcus Hoare

Worthing hope to add former Brighton striker David Ajiboye to their squad this week - and goalkeeper Lucas Covolan's future should become clearer in the coming days.

Ajiboye had a brief loan spell at Woodside Road in 2017 but was released by the Seagulls at the end of last season, after ending the campaign on loan with Millwall's under-23 team.

The pacy 19-year-old frontman has spent time on trial at Maidstone this summer but was on target for Worthing in their 4-4 pre-season friendly at Wimborne on Saturday.

Worthing manager Adam Hinshelwood spoke last week of adding a player with 'a real injection of pace' to the Worthing squad and said: "David's a real talent, has good pace and is a really exciting player.

"We'd like to have him around and we'll try to get something done.

"He has options but I think he's been pleasantly surprised by the talent we've got in our group and I'll be sitting down with him this week."

Covolan has had trials at higher-league clubs this summer and with his future uncertain, Worthing have signed Tom McGill on a season-long loan from Brighton.

McGill started the draw at Wimborne but Covolan came off the bench and Hinshelwood hopes to know in the next couple of days if the Brazilian keeper will be back at Woodside Road next season.

He said: "Lucas got a good reaction from our fans on Saturday and we need to know what's happening and whether he'll be with us.

"It might be the case we'll end up with two top quality goalkeepers this season. I'll sit down with Lucas this week and hopefully things will be a lot clearer in the next couple of days.

"We got Tom McGill in because we didn't want to leave ourselves exposed in the goalkeeping position.

"We've got less than two weeks to go until the start of the season and as much as we've got faith in our young goalkeepers, it's too much to ask for them to be number one at our level just yet."

Worthing's goals at Wimborne came from Ajiboye, an own goal and Callum Kealy, with two, while Jesse Starkey also hit the bar with a penalty.

Aarran Racine, Sam Rents and Jazz Rance were all unavailable for the game, which left Hinshelwood pleased with Worthing's attacking play but feeling there are things to work on defensively.

He said: "We've been doing a lot of work in training on the final third and our attacking play was really good.

"To score four goals away from home, miss a penalty, hit the bar and create more good opportunities is really positive.

"We want to be more exciting going forward, create more chances and be more of a threat in the final third.

"On the downside, we conceded four goals and that's something we have got to address.

"We were really good in the first half-an-hour and dominated the ball but one straight pass was cut out and they scored.

"We were leading 2-1 and creating chances but came in at half-time 3-2 down.

"We've still got a young team but have got to learn. There wasn't much in the game at Chichester earlier in pre-season either and we trailed 3-0 after half-an-hour then.

"After conceding four goals, there's still a lot to address and we're not the finished article just yet."

Worthing's summer signing from Bognor, Ollie Pearce, is set to miss the start of the season with a groin injury.

The forward missed a period of last season with the injury and Hinshelwood does not want to rush him back.

He said: "We'll look to have Ollie back training with the group at the start of the season.

"Everyone wants to see him in a Worthing shirt and he's desperate to play but when he comes back, we want him to stay back and not break down.

"He might not be back until the middle of August and it might be September when he's ready to start a game.

"But we want him back fit, so he can have a good season."

Midfielder Rhyle Ovenden and defender Will Miles both got more game time at Wimborne as they continued their comebacks from injury.

Hinshelwood said: "Rhyle got 30 minutes and it's just a confidence thing now as he's been out for a long time but he's had no reaction to his knee.

"He's done a lot of running and is one of the fittest lads in the team anyway.

"It's just about getting football fitness and twisting and turning again.

"Will also came through 30 minutes and we'll look to get them both more minutes this week."

Trialist Curtis Gayler played at Wimborne and Hinshelwood will speak to the midfielder about his future this week.

Danny Bassett, who was also on trial, will not be joining Worthing this summer but the club will remain in contact with the striker.

Worthing continue their preparations for the new Bostik League season with two games this week. They host Gillingham's under-23 team at Woodside Road tomorrow and then travel to Southern Combination League Premier Division side Loxwood on Wednesday.

Hinshelwood said: "It's all about getting minutes in the legs and we'll try to get as many of the squad 90 minutes in these two games.

"We'll put out two different 11s and both teams will be really competitive. There's competition for places in the squad and it's good to have.

"Early on in the season we have a game on Saturday then Monday, so we want to keep everyone fresh and this should bode well."