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|LAMBS SNAP UP BROOKS
Nationwide Conference club Tamworth have secured the services of a young striker who was close to signing for Premiership giants Arsenal before being struck down by a serious illness.
Lambs boss Darron Gee has signed 20-year-old striker Jamie Brooks (pictured) from Oxford United on loan until the end of the season.
Brooks burst on the scene at United and was the club's most outstanding player in the 2001//02 season, winning all four player of the year awards in his first year as a professional.
Quick, hungry and with a good football brain, he scored 11 goals in his first 21 starts, which alerted Arsenal who offered him a trial.
But within days of the end of the season, he developed a terrible, paralysing illness, later diagnosed as Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which left him in intensive care for four months.
The illness effectively took a year out of his life because he was unable to play at all last season.
Brooks has made a slow but steady recovery and returned to action in August.
However, he needs match action and the Lambs were only too happy to oblige.
"He has battled back from a terrible illness but is fit and well now," Gee said.
"He is extremely talented and has good quality. He needs match action but I am sure he will be an asset in the run in."
Brooks is likely to make his debut this Saturday in the vital relegation six-pointer against Leigh RMI.
Leigh are just four points behind the Lambs and victory could give Tamworth some breathing space and could take them above Farnborough, who are away at Chester City, and out of the relegation zone.
Despite the importance of the game, Gee insists the pressure is on Leigh.
"They have to come and try and beat us," Gee said.
"They have to try and catch us up and we can't afford to lose.
"We must be patient and keep it tight defensively and if we don't lose they will still be four points behind us.
"I don't want to put too much pressure on the players. I want them to go out, relax and play.
"We will almost treat it like an away game."
Gee's only injury worries are Marcus Ebdon, who has a sore Achilles, Jason Blunt, who has a hamstring injury, and Lee Ayres.
Ayres has been training with Notts County this week in a bid to speed up his rehabilitation after a groin injury.
Richard Follett is also recovering from a bruised foot.
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