GILLINGHAM are aiming to keep Jo Kuffour on a permanent basis and that deal could well prove to be one of the most important of the season for the club.
Boss Andy Hessenthaler has instructed the Gills chairman to do the business and bring Kuffour to Priestfield on a permanent basis, after the striker’s impressive first five weeks at the club.
Bristol Rovers’ loss has been Gillingham’s gain after the livewire forward hit a hat-trick last week to help beat Northampton - taking his goal tally to five goals from eight games since arriving on loan from the Pirates.
He has not just contributed goals but has also given summer signing Danny Kedwell much-needed support in attack.
Before Kuffour the Gills lacked sharpness upfront and had nobody with experience to help fill the void left after Adam Birchall was left sidelined for the season with injury.
Kuffour has been a Gills target for some time and he has been a class act in the eight games he has played. The way he tore apart Torquay’s defence at Plainmoor showed he has the skills to make a mockery of League 2 defences - as he did again against Northampton.
Without him, the Gills just haven’t got the attacking presence upfront to sustain a promotion charge.
League 2 defenders are not used to the kind of movement that Kuffour possesses. He is quick, alert and intelligent and enjoys working off a big man like Kedwell. He is ideal for Gillingham and hopefully Gillingham will be ideal for him. He has already decided he wants to stay near to his London home permanently and he has clearly got the hunger back after moving to Priestfield. Hopefully he and the Gills can come together and sort out a long-term solution.
Fellow West Ham forward Frank Nouble has also made a valuable contribution but his loan can only be extended for a further month before he must return to the Championship side. Short term loan rules mean he can stay for a maximum 92 days. Hessenthaler is due for talks this week with Nouble to keep him until mid December, having already had positive vibes from Ian Hendon (West Ham development manager) and Hammers boss Sam Allardyce.
Kuffour and Nouble both return for the Gills this weekend and both will be back in the starting eleven.
For Gillingham fans the sight of Kuffour back on the field will be a big boost and now they will be hoping the club can get the business done behind the scenes to keep the striker at the club permanently.
His current deal may not expire until the end of December but if he keeps scoring goals and making things happen then other clubs will start sniffing around.
Gillingham must act fast to get their man. He is a striker who can make a real impact in League 2 this season - with or without the Gills.