Gillingham boss Steve Evans unveils the signing of striker John Akinde

Friday 24th January 2020

GILLINGHAM manager Steve Evans has completed the signing of striker John Akinde from Lincoln City for an undisclosed fee.

The 30-year-old centre forward arrives at Priestfield Stadium after the players’ representatives had weeks of negotiations with chairman Paul Scally and chief executive Tom Lawrence.

The striker reunites with Gills boss Steve Evans with the pair having worked together at Crawley Town during the 2011/12 season.

To date, as a professional, Akinde has netted 154 goals in 453 appearances.

He began his career in the academy at Gravesend & Northfleet, now Ebbsfleet United and had his first spell in men’s football whilst out on loan at Whitstable Town, before making his debut for The Fleet in 2006 before joining Championship club Bristol City in September of 2008 for a significant six figure sum.

Late on in the 2008-09 season the striker signed for League Two side Wycombe Wanderers and netted seven goals in 11 appearances before returning to Adams Park the following season.

In the summer of 2011, Evans made his move for the big striker while at Crawley Town and Akinde would go on to make 40 appearances for the club before moving to Dagenham & Redbridge.

A brief stint at Portsmouth was followed by a more prolific spell in back in non-league at Alfreton Town, where Akinde made 43 appearances and scored 18 goals.

In the summer of 2014 the striker signed for Barnet where, over a period of four years, he scored an incredible 89 goals in 174 appearances.

On leaving Barnet, Akinde joined Lincoln City in the summer of 2018 for a transfer fee close to £400,000 and, to date, has featured 81 times and scored 25 goals. 

The former Pompey man is eligible for selection ahead of Saturday’s game against Rochdale at Spotland, although he is expected to start from the subs bench.

On capturing his man, Evans said in a statement: “ Give only credit to my chairman Paul Scally and the big fella himself.

“My boss has been terrier like, but outstanding and got a player I wanted back in the summer, but he is here now.

“In fairness to John he has showed a real desire to play for me again and as a manager that is very humbling.

“His goals record needs no introduction, he makes us stronger as a group and he knows how hard he must work for the team.

“I have enormous respect for Michael Appleton, Jez George and those above at Lincoln City; we have spoken many times in the last two weeks but all of us have shown a maturity and a real level of professionalism to get this deal over the line.

“We need to conclude a couple of more deals and we will be ready to face the challenges in the second half of the season.”

Gillingham are currently in fourteenth-place in the League One table with 35 points from 26 games, six points adrift of the play-off places.

Hosts Rochdale sit in 18th place with 28 points and are six points clear of the drop zone.

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