Spencer Day remains hopeful of pulling off a major summer coup this week by landing Football League ace Scott Donnelly on a permanent deal
The 25-year-old playmaker is currently without a club and played the full 90 minutes for Boro in a 3-2 pre-season win at Chertsey Town on Tuesday night (August 6).
Donnelly is a fans’ favourite down the road at Aldershot Town having spent two spells with the Shots – the first ending with a high-profile move to then-Championship side Swansea City in June 2010.
After two loan stays at Wycombe Wanderers, Donnelly made a fleeting return to the EBB Stadium under Dean Holdsworth last season before ending up at Farnborough, where he made just three appearances in Conference South before stepping up to join Newport County.
Now unattached, Day has told Donnelly he is welcome back at Cherrywood Road to train while he goes in search of full-time football, but a recent injury has interrupted that search, leaving Boro as his number one option as the start of the new season fast approaches.
Donnelly showed touches of class in a slick first-half display on Tuesday night before tiring after the break as his lack of match fitness became apparent.
But Day now hopes that providing the ongoing takeover battle allows, he can get his man on board before Saturday’s home friendly with Sutton United (ko 3pm).
The boss said: “Obviously it depends a lot on off-the-field matters but he wants to play and we’ll see what happens.
“He’s been injured for the last 10 days and wanted to get some minutes. His lack of fitness showed in the second half but in the first half he looked the quality player he is.
“As I’ve said these last few weeks, Scott is using us, with our full support, as a backstop and we are close to doing something with him.”
One thing is for sure, Day is looking to add a new centre back to the ranks this week – and he has hinted that it could be a return of a familiar face to Cherrywood Road.
With captain Alan Inns suspended for the first three games and new arrival Adam Doyle struggling with an injury, Day is extremely light at the back with trialists Nathan Koo-Boothe and Djibril looking to earn themselves a deal.
Day added: “I’ve got big concerns at centre back, I’m going to have to go and get one in. I know who I'm going to try and get, he's well-known at Farnborough, he is available and I’m going to speak to him this week.
“With 11 days to go before the season starts I need someone who knows the way I want to play and who accepts what we are trying to do.”
Tuesday night’s victory – courtesy of a fine hat-trick from the in-form Dave Tarpey – came on the back of a slender 2-1 defeat at Conference North title hopefuls Brackley Town on Saturday, sealed by a last-minute goal from Tom Sharpe.
Dan Bennett slid in a deserved opener for Boro on 16 minutes before the hosts equalised on the stroke of half time through Greg Kazaboni.
Day, however, was delighted with the performance, adding: “We were outstanding and were very disappointed to lose it right at the death. We’ve missed four or five chances, hit the bar and their keeper was man-of-the-match.
“A few people let themselves down, which is disappointing, but it gave us the opportunity to look at loads of new faces and get some minutes in the legs. It showed me where we are not strong as a squad.”