Notts County boss Neal Ardley targets striker as he makes transfer decision – Nottinghamshire Live

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Notts County have put a striker at the top of their transfer agenda as Neal Ardley confirmed he was seeking a forward to help ease the pressure on Kyle Wootton.

The Magpies’ options up front have been reduced after Wes Thomas ruled himself out of a return in the immediate future after refusing to train with the rest of the first team squad amid fears over Covid.

Until Thomas decides that it is safe to return, Notts are now left with top scorer Wootton, on-loan Mansfield forward Jimmy Knowles and Elisha Sam as the only forwards on the books.

With a congested fixture schedule to contend with, Ardley says the demands on Wootton would not be sustainable especially with a host of three-game weeks on the horizon.

He now wants to move for a centre forward to help ease the burden on the former Scunthorpe striker particularly as he is the only player on the books who can play as a target man.

Ardley says he has already identified a number of targets although faces no rush because the National League does not operate under a transfer window meaning he can make signings outside of the January deadline for EFL cllubs.

He said: “With the number of games we’ve got coming up, we’re going to strengthen the squad.

“We haven’t got brilliant strength in numbers at the moment.

“We’ve got a little bit of flexibility across the front but I think the role we’ve probably only got one main player for is Kyle Wootton’s.

“We’re still developing Elisha Sam into that number-nine role, but he’s played very well off the sides and off a striker rather than being a more physical force. It’s the same with Jimmy – he wants to play off someone like Kyle.

“We’re looking for someone who can physically play as a nine because Kyle isn’t going to be able to play Saturday-Tuesday for seven weeks without breaking himself.

“It’s a difficult position to fill because everyone’s after players like that but we’ve got a few on the radar and we’re hopeful of getting business done in the next week or so. I think it’ll be a loan deal.

“One of the other positions we’re looking at is left back, obviously because of Damien’s injury. We’re also considering bringing in a wider player who could play full back as well. Having versatility in the squad is really important.”

Notts do not have a game this weekend which does at least allow Ardley to spend time watching players after their National League clash against Eastleigh was postponed after their opponents confirmed a case of Covid.

It is the fourth Covid break the club have had this season which has hampered their bid for momentum and Notts’ attempts to rearrange a game in its place has proved futile.

Ardley added: “Eastleigh were really up front with us and had plans in place to test their squad, but I think league protocols now dictate that the whole group has to self-isolate for 10 days.

“We then asked a couple of clubs who didn’t have fixtures scheduled for Saturday if we could travel to play them at short notice but both teams refused.

“The league have no provisions in place to bring games forward and we’ve had to accept that we can’t get a game, which is frustrating because it’s an extra fixture that will come further down the line during a really tough schedule.”