BRIDPORT boss and former Dorchester Town striker Trevor Senior has given his backing to exciting young prospect Jonah Ayunga, after the 18-year-old finalised his switch to Brighton & Hove Albion from the Avenue on deadline day.

Frontman Ayunga, who only arrived at Dorchester from Bridport Youth last summer, signed a deal with the Championship outfit which runs until June 2018.

And, while Senior admitted Bridport tried to elevate Ayunga to the club’s senior ranks before he joined the Magpies, he has wished the youngster well as he embarks on his professional career.

Speaking about Ayunga, the Bees’ boss said: “He’s a player that I had heard about over the last 18 months really. He was the one whose name kept cropping up in the Bridport area.

“Shaun Annetts (reserves manager), who lives in the same area as Jonah, was trying to get him to come in pre-season. We were hoping for that but obviously Dorchester had him on their radar as well and the rest is history. It’s great for him.

“I have only seen him a couple of times really but he scored against us in pre-season with a good header from a corner.”

He added: “It’s good for Dorchester, they obviously put him on a contract and it’s going to help them as well.

“This should be good for the area, Dominic Gape obviously went on a few years back and has done really well. Now Jonah has a big opportunity as well.”

Asked whether he had any advice to give Ayunga, Senior, who was a big hit with Dorchester before signing for Portsmouth and going on to play for Watford, Middlesbrough and Reading, said: “There was one thing my old manager, Stuart Bell, said to me when I left Dorchester.

“He said ‘remember all the people on the way up because you’ll meet them on the way back down’. I think that is pretty good advice really.

“I don’t know the lad but I imagine he will keep his feet on the ground. I would say just listen to people and not everybody is going to give you good advice, just pick out the good bits.

“On the coaching side of it he is going to get top-notch coaching. He is going to learn and he has that knack of sticking the ball in the back of the net.

“He can head a ball, has pace and looks a strong lad. He has a lot going in his favour, he’s just got to make the most of his good points and improve on his weaker points. He is going to be a top player I would say.”

Senior will be hoping to see his Bridport side in action at Longwell Green Sports on Saturday (3pm).

The Bees have not played since their league defeat at Odd Down on January 12.

He said: “We know what it’s like up there. It’s always quite a heavy pitch anyway so it’s usually a bit of a slog. 

“I think it’s all going to take a little while to get back into it 
really. I don’t think you can predict anything. It’s just going to be a case of who is up for it on the day.”

The wet weather in recent weeks has caused the Bees’ fixtures to rack up, but Senior believes Bridport have the squad to cope with an intense schedule. 

He added: “We are going to have to play half a season of league games in three months. 

“We have the squad to deal with it. In one or two midweek games in Bristol I’d imagine we would be struggling to get 14 players to go through work commitments, but we just have to get on with it 

“We have a load of games in hand, it’s just a case of getting back into it now.”