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Steve Watson finally lands summer target Willoughby

By Dan Simmonite | 24th January 2020

Steve Watson has landed striker Kurt Willoughby today on a one-month loan deal from National League side AFC Fylde.

After completing the signing, Watson said: “We’ve been keeping tabs on him most the season now and he has sort of been in and out of Fylde’s team and not played as regularly as he would have liked.

“I had a conversation with their manager, Jim Bentley, yesterday and we agreed that it would be good for both parties to get a move here. 

“Initially it’s for a month with a potential if things go well – he enjoys it and we enjoy having him – to maybe extend it but at the moment it’s just for a month.” 

The three-time England ‘C’ International scored a second-half goal for his former club, FC United of Manchester, against the Minstermen last season in a 3-3 draw at Broadhurst Park and Watson has been a fan of the prolific forward ever since. 

Willoughby ended the 2018/19 season with 19 goals to his name for the Greater Manchester side. 

“Kurt is someone we looked at strongly in the summer, we even had a chat with him in the summer,” explained Watson. 

“He is someone who I have liked since he played against us and I’ve kept an eye on him but obviously we lost out to Fylde who are a League higher and closer to where he is from so we had to accept that.” 

Watson has previously stated that he would only bring a player in if he fits the mold of the current team, and the gaffer was pleased with the first impressions. 

He added: “He’s only trained today and this time of season things do tend to simmer on quite a bit because other teams are either looking for somebody to replace lads who are going to go out on loan or the player is looking for something as high up as he can get really. 

“But he’s got in today, he’s met the lads, trained really well, looks very sharp and he will go into the squad for tomorrow.” 

City currently sit in a healthy second-placed position in the National League North and boast the best defensive record in the division. However, Watson believes the new addition can bolster his squad up the other end of the field. 

“It’s just anything that can help us put games to bed a little bit easier and it’s to help the lads that are already here,” added Watson. 

“We had a good-sized squad at the start of the season but Jake (Wright)’s gone back out with the potential of Wes (York) going back out as well but we will have a good chat about that. 

“He’s scored goals for an FC United side who were struggling and on the verge of getting relegated so with the amount of chances we create and the amount of balls we get in the box – we are hoping he can help us out and I’m excited about it.”  

Watson now has a further strength in depth in the forward departments, a situation which creates good competition for places. 

“It’s like anyone in the team, especially forwards, if they get in the team and they are scoring goals and we are winning games then the shirt is theirs. I’ve said that to all the players, not just Kurt,” added Watson. 

He concluded: “He is a good age and the fact that we were hoping to get him in the summer tells you what we think of him but this is the way it’s came about now and I’m pleased he is here - hopefully he can enjoy it and who knows what the future holds for both of us.”

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