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“He deserves this move” – Maidstone boss Jay Saunders heaps praise on AFC Wimbledon-bound striker Joe Pigott

By Jon Couch

Maidstone United boss Jay Saunders have lavished praise on striker Joe Pigott after he completed a move to AFC Wimbledon on Monday.

The 24-year-old is the Stones’ top scorer with 14 goals in league and cup this season, including one against Cheltenham Town in the FA Cup – and you can get a helping hand at anticipating where the next cupset will come from at FootballPredictions.com.

Pigott’s form has naturally alerted the attentions of a number of League 2 clubs this season, but the former Charlton Athletic man ruled out a move away from the Gallagher Stadium in this January window.

But after holding talks with Dons boss Neal Ardley on Friday, the lure of third-tier football proved just too much, although the striker admitted it was a difficult decision to leave.

“My first feelings are that I’m pretty gutted I’m leaving but obviously I’ve got to further my career and try to play at the highest level I can,” Pigott told KentOnline.

“I said to the boys before the game ‘you boys are like my family’ and it was quite an emotional moment actually.

“It’s my hometown club. It would have to have been a good offer for me to leave which obviously I’ve got.

“It’s exciting times for me but it’s exciting times for Maidstone as well.”

Pigott joined the Stones last January, initially on loan from Cambridge United, before signing a permanent deal in the summer.

With a total of 20 goals from 51 appearances for the Stones, he proved to be one of Saunders’ best ever signings and the boss admits his presence will be missed.

“He really deserves this move,” Saunders said. “I know he’s disappointed to have left but for his career this is the right thing.

“When he came in, I knew that with a run of games and goals he’d attract interest and there’s been a fair bit recently. He’s going to be a big miss for us.

“It’s not just the goals, his effort and work rate were second to none. I am delighted for him and his family, they’ve been a pleasure to have around the club.”

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