Fleet manager Steve Brown has declared Osei Sankofa as “established” in defence following a run of appearances in place of the injured Shane Huke.
The former Charlton player breezed through another test against free-scoring Bromley on Saturday alongside skipper Paul Lorraine and has barely put a foot wrong since replacing the unfortunate Huke.
“Some people see Osei as a right back, I brought him here as a right back,” Brown told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster. “I said to him he had to fight for his place with Joe Howe. He was happy to do that.
“He spent a long period out of the team, I put him in the centre of defence for a cup game [v Folkestone] and he was absolutely terrific and he has been every single time I’ve played him in there. The experience he has, he’s been at the top, played Premier League football, the knowledge he gives to other players in the team is very, very important. He’s a better centre half for me at the moment than he is a right back.”
With Sankofa putting in a decent shift in the centre of defence, it has meant Brown does not need to be hurried into filling the vacant space left by Huke’s injury, the Fleet boss having told Fleetonline in midweek that he was “happy with what I have compared to what is available” in response to questions about strengthening the squad.
“Losing Shane Huke could have been a real blow,” Brown explained. “Shane was having a terrific season, probably our best player of the season in terms of the performances he put in up to that point. But the door’s opened for Osei and he’s taken that opportunity and established himself already. That’s five or six games at centre half and he hasn’t had a bad game yet.”
Huke, meanwhile, has been ruled out for four months with a metatarsal injury – but that’s a much-improved diagnosis following the Fleet board’s decision to pay for an operation that has drastically reduced the defender’s recovery time. Without it, Huke’s season could well have been over. Read more about that in Steve Brown’s programme notes.