Saint Junior takes time off to chase League dream

The 25 year old, who Dennis Greene describes as “a Premiership player on the ball but a non-league player off it” is good friends with Wes Thomas, a striker who is on loan at the south coast club from Crawley Town. It is through this friendship that he has been able to set up the trial.

“It was my idea,” said Greene, who confirmed the club would retain Konadu’s player registration while he is away. “Ever since Junior had trials with Peterborough in the summer he has had his head in the clouds. He just hasn’t been performing as well as we know he can. So the chairman and I to go and get his Football League dream out of his system.”

This is the second club that Greene and Konadu have been together at. The Saints manager spotted the confident Londoner playing park football while he was manager at Hemel Hempstead. He then brought him to the Hunts Post Community Stadium after a broken leg cut short a first crack at League football; a spell at Dagenham & Redbridge, where Thomas was also on the books.

“We didn’t want it dragging on,” continued Greene. “Junior is 25 now and he feels he needs to give it another go.

“We wish him all the best – perhaps full time training will make him into the player we have failed to make him into – but the door is open for him to come back in six weeks if it doesn’t work out.”

Konadu began the Saints 2-2 draw at North Greenford United in London on Saturday – but was substituted early in the second half. The Saints started that Southern League Central game brightly but went seriously off the boil after going 1-0 up – and only a late equaliser from Konadu’s central midfield partner Adrian Sear rescued the point.

Konadu was replaced by Lewis Hilliard after the team failed to respond to a half-time ‘talking to’ by the manager. Hilliard was more of a physical presence in the central, and more direct.

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“Junior has got the talent,” said Greene, “but he lacks discipline. He’s a Premiership player on the ball but a non-league player off it.”

Konadu was more guarded when talking about his chances of a contract with Bournemouth, saying simply: “Nothing is guaranteed.”

“Junior has the passion to be a professional footballer,” said chairman Mike Kearns. “He really believes he should be playing in the League. So if he makes it, fine – if he doesn’t, then he can come back. It’s as simple as that.”

The decision means that the Saints will be without Konadu for their FA Trophy second qualifying round game at Billericay on Saturday. Greene already knew he would have to play that game without suspended striker Shane Tolley – but, to make matters worse, experienced defender Chris Hope is also doubtful after picking up an ankle injury in their win against Burnham and sitting out the disappointing draw that followed it.

A full FA Trophy match preview will feature at later this week.