It's been a frustrating season thus far for Graham Burke.
Having been plucked by League of Ireland cherrypickers Preston North End last summer, the former Shamrock Rovers star left Tallaght Stadium for a second crack at pro-soccer on the British mainland.
And the Dubliner had every reason to be hopeful, after a stellar season with Rovers that saw him notch 16 goals in 26 games across domestic and European competition. He also had the feted honour of being the first League of Ireland player to score for the senior international side in 40 years, when he turned in a Darragh Lenihan cross-come-shot in June's 2-1 victory over the USA at the Aviva.
That bumper twelve months saw the Lancashire club move for the striker, parting with over £300,000 in the process.
But things haven't been so easy for Burke this term, managing only a solitary league goal for the Lilywhites, in the 2-2 draw with Stoke City, way back in August.
Having been forced to make do with cameo roles from the bench for much of the campaign, it seemed that manager Alex Neil had found a place for the frontman in a playmaking role in Preston's yuletide fixtures with Hull, Rotherham and former club Aston Villa. But having taken only a point from those three games, the Irishman quickly has found himself on the periphery, again.
— Gillingham FC (@TheGillsFC) January 31, 2019
Welcome news for all concerned, then, that the frontman has secured a Deadline Day loan to Gillingham. It's an opportunity for Burke to rediscover his goalscoring touch, should he get a consistent run of games under Steve Lovell, and those thoughts are very much to the fore with the man himself.
"Once I spoke to the manager I decided that Gillingham was the right place for me to get some game time", said the 25-year-old, adding, "I want to play; I want to score goals."
The Gills currently lie 17th in League One but have enjoyed a run in the FA Cup, that saw them topple Cardiff City in the Third Round before losing out in Wales, to Swansea, in the next round.