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Ex-Saint set for Winchester exit?
PROLIFIC ex-Saints striker Jamie White may have played his last game for Sydenhams Wessex Premier champions Winchester City.
Having pledged to help the 22-year-old get a foothold back into the professional game, City owner Paul McCarthy has moved closer to achieving that objective by lining White up with a potential move to AFC Bournemouth later this summer.
The League One club yesterday confirmed that White, who has already trained with Cherries this term, has been invited back to join them for pre-season.
He is expected to play for Bournemouth against Guy Butters’ Winchester when they visit the Denplan City Ground for a friendly on July 28.
Although White’s initial contract with Winchester has now expired, McCarthy is planning to re-sign him on a short-term preliminary contract.
It means that, should a deal with Bournemouth go through, the non-League club would be compensated for helping White get fully fit and firing again after a cruel spate of injuries wrecked his Saints career. Harefield lad White, whose tally of 54 top-flight Wessex goals was just one short of Andy Forbes’s all-time league record, would be a hard act to follow at Winchester, who are on course for a Southern League return next season.
But McCarthy, who has good links at Dean Court having once employed Cherries’ interim assistant manager Shaun Brooks as City boss, said: “Hopefully Bournemouth will want to sign Jamie and the money we get will be enough to replace him, if not with his standard of player, then someone befitting of the standard we’re at.”
Gosport Borough’s Justin Bennett would have fitted the bill, but McCarthy’s hopes of luring him away from Privett Park were dashed this week when the former Andover and Eastleigh hotshot penned a new deal for Alex Pike’s Southern Premier new boys.
But McCarthy said: “We’ll be going both barrels to sign another quality striker – and we’re talking somebody of Justin’s ilk.
“It’s even possible that Jamie White could come back to us on loan if he signs for Bournemouth, but that’s all up in the air at the moment.
“Jamie will always be a legend at our club and it would be sad to lose him, but we owe him the chance to play higher and he probably owes us a bit of gratitude as well.”
Winchester have a number of other high-calibre friendlies in the pipeline, including a visit from Saints under-21s on Saturday, July 21.