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"Lethal" Obika backed to be a hit
New boy Jonathan Obika has been backed to make an impact with Albion – after a “lethal” six-goal blast in front of Nathan Jones.
The 23-year-old Tottenham striker has signed for the Seagulls on a 93-day loan deal.
But reports were emerging late last night that Ashley Barnes could be poised to leave The Amex to join Burnley.
Albion have been tracking 6ft frontrunner Obita, who caught the eye of Jones when he was working for Yeovil and later Charlton, since early in the season.
Plans to sign him were put on ice due to injury but he underlined his return to full working order with a double hat-trick in a friendly for Tottenham against Charlton’s under-21s this week with Albion’s assistant head coach in attendance.
Former Seagulls goalkeeper Ben Roberts, now on the coaching staff at Charlton, said: “The report coming back on him after the game was one word – lethal! That game certainly underlined his fitness.
“Like Nathan, I worked with Jon at Yeovil and then at Charlton and he’s a really good pro. He is guaranteed to score goals. He is a real predator around the box.
“I’ve been waiting for this career to really kick off. When he came to us at Charlton it took him a couple of weeks to get up to speed.
“But he was brilliant for us. The end of the season came too soon for us.”
Albion might be keen to play down Obika’s six goals in a low-profile friendly.
But Roberts added: “There are good players involved. It was by no means a Mickey Mouse game.
“He is a great signing for Brighton and he will suit the way they play.”
Albion head coach Oscar Garcia stressed Obika has been signed to work alongside Barnes, who has already attracted a bid of about £750,000 this month from Burnley, and Leo Ulloa.
Oscar said: "Our target was to bring an extra striker into the squad, alongside Leo and Ash, and as cover for Craig and Will as they continue their respective comebacks from their injuries.
“Jonathan is someone we have been aware of for some time – because Nathan has worked closely with him in the past at Yeovil and Charlton.
“It is known that we tried to bring him earlier in the season, but were not able to due to an injury, so we are pleased to have him here now.”
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