League clubs remain interested in star striker Ryan Crisp after rejecting an offer from Ryman League Premier Division outfit Leiston this week for the youngster.
The 19-year-old failed to land a deal at West Bromwich Albion earlier this season after a trial with the Barclays Premier League side but Tong said there is still strong interest in the front-man from other high profile clubs.
Leiston made an offer for Crisp’s services, but Tong said the fee didn’t reflect how highly the Royals value the player.
“We’ve turned down an offer from Leiston because we felt it didn’t reflect his value,” he said. “There’s no animosity between the clubs – we’ve got a good relationship, but the offer wasn’t enough.
“We’ve had a number of inquiries from local clubs but there are still league clubs sniffing around him so we will see how that develops.
“I think Ryan would like to progress but he is enjoying his football with us at the moment and will take his time in making the right decision.”
Crisp starred once again in Kirkley’s 1-0 win against FC Clacton last week as he ploughed a lone furrow up front but he was overshadowed by the performance of stand-in goalkeeper Rob Hills.
The shot-stopper was brought in late last week due to the unvailability of Jordan Smith and Dave Attridge and played a major part in Kirkley emerging with all three points.
“Robert came to our rescue on at least three occasions and he was absolutely superb for us,” said Tong, whose introduction of Scott Woodcock in the second half proved crucial as the substitute netted the only goal of the game. “He last played for us in a friendly against Wroxham some time ago now but he was more than up to speed.
“His attitude was like he had never been away and he gave us a platform from which to build on. We could have been a couple of goals down at half-time if it hadn’t been for him.”
The win took the Royals up to eighth in the table but Tong warned his side face a difficult run of games during December, starting with league leaders Mildenhall Town at Walmer Road today.
“I think that we have to be realistic – we’ve got some very tough games coming up, none more so than Mildenhall. There’s no reason we can’t give them a game though – I enjoy pitting my wits against these sides. These are the kind of challenges you want as a manager.
“I drive the lads on and I know that I push them hard but they deserve a lot of credit for the way they have responded.”
Credit: Eastern Daily Press