New signing Jack Ainsley will play anywhere for Leiston
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New Leiston signing Jack Ainsley is prepared to play wherever boss Richard Wilkins wants to deploy him, ahead of today's home game with Wingate & Finchley.
The 25-year-old dropped from National League North with Lowestoft Town and into the Ryman Premier, with the play-off chasing Blues, last week.
After two games, Ainsley has already played at centre-back, in centre midfield and as a striker – the Blues suffering away defeats at Hampton & Richmond (4-3) and Billericay Town (4-1).
The former Ipswich Town youngster, who represented England’s under-17s side as a striker, opened his account in the midweek defeat at Billericay, scoring from the rebound after his initial penalty-kick was saved.
That night, Ainsley played at the heart of the defence, deputising for Tom Bullard, and highlighted the versatility manager Wilkins lauded.
Ainsley is likely to be involved again today as Leiston look to get back to winning ways, following three successive away defeats.
“I will play wherever the manager wants me to play, but my best positions are probably right-back or centre-back,” said Ainsley.
“But the lads that have played there this season have done well, so I can’t expect to walk straight into either position.”
Asked if he fancied playing as a striker, Ainsley moved up front on Tuesday night, replacing the injured Christy Finch, he added: “Why not? I started my youth career there and played for England as a striker, so if I get my chance, hopefully I will be able to score a few goals.”
Ainsley’s departure from Lowestoft came as something of a shock, but his off-field commitments meant he was struggling with the commute from Ipswich to Lowestoft.
From a footballing perspective, Ainsley said: “I know what kind of team Leiston are and they play a similar style to Lowestoft.
“We have got to keep our heads high, we are three points off the play-offs, and we should fancy ourselves on Saturday.”
n Elsewhere in Ryman Premier, Needham Market will look to build on two goalless draws when they host Met Police today.
The Marketmen are five points clear of the drop-zone, but Brentwood and Staines below them have six and three games in hand respectively on them.