New goal scorer a priotity

Carlisle United V Crawley Town FC. Final score 0-2. Danny Livesey (left) for Carlisle with Crawley's Nicky Ajose: 29 September 2012'STUART WALKER
Carlisle United V Crawley Town FC. Final score 0-2. Danny Livesey (left) for Carlisle with Crawley's Nicky Ajose: 29 September 2012'STUART WALKER

Crawley Town look set to make a permanent deal for a striker their priority in the January transfer window.

Loan deals for strike pair Jonathan Forte and Nicky Ajose are set to end, and with Forte not allowed to renew his stay, and Ajose currently not in the starting XI, Reds look set to make a move when the window re-opens.

Forte will rejoin parent club Southampton later this month, and Ajose’s stay is set to end in January – although Crawley do have an option to make that a arrangement permanent.

And Barker said he would like any new players to be Crawley Town’s, rather than loanees, when he reassess their League One aspirations after Christmas.

“We probably need a couple of additions,” he said. “Jonathan and Nicky are not ours, and when they go back obviously they will need replacing. Without going into details it would be nice if we had players that are ours.

“When I came in I had seven days until the first game of the season and we had a shortage of strikers. Nicky and Jonno (Forte) have come in for us and done extremely well in terms of giving us other options. But they are not our players, and at some point it will be nice to get people in who are our players.”

Both strikers made promising starts to their Broadfield stays. Forte scored on his debut from the bench against Scunthorpe, while Ajose’s goals against Doncaster, Bolton and Leyton Orient persuaded Crawley to extend his loan from Peterborough United until the New Year.

But neither has scored since September 1, and have started three times between them in the last month.

Barker added: “We will make a decision on Nicky in January, we have an option to buy him and we will see. In September you would have bought him, at the minute, he is not in the team.”

One Crawley striker who has no problems finding the net this season is Jonte Smith. The 18-year-old from Bermuda has bagged 15 goals in 11 appearances on loan at Metropolitan Police, and although he had to sit out the weekend’s FA Cup tie against his parent club, has been given another month at the Ryman Premier club – despite interest from higher divisions.

“They (Met police) wanted him to stay and he wanted to stay,” Barker said. “We have had options for him to go to a higher level. It’s great for him to go, who knows how many goals he could come back with? I think it would be great if he comes back with another half dozen maybe.”

Smith, and another of the Reds’ youth products, Louis John (at Bognor) have excelled while on loan and Barker is keen to maintain a steady learning curve.

“We have to be careful we do not rush them,” he added. “They have come from youth football and they are learning to play against men, we do not want Jonte to go somewhere and lose his confidence.”