'˜Freak' Lewis Gibbens set to shine for Boston United as Ben Middleton suffers injury setback

'˜Freak' Lewis Gibbens looks set for more Boston United action as defender Ben Middleton has suffered an injury setback.

Lewis Gibbens. Photo: Eric Brown.
Lewis Gibbens. Photo: Eric Brown.

The Mansfield Town teenager has extended his loan spell at the Jakemans Stadium into a second month after impressing during his first two starts for the Pilgrims.

Gibbens looked accomplished in the backline as Boston drew against league leaders Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday, also giving as good as he got against a combative Alfreton Town side on New Year’s Day.

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Ben Middleton.

“He’s a freak at the minute, in terms of being an academy player who loves to defend. A bit of an old school defender type,” manager Elliott said of the 19-year-old Stag.

“There aren’t many of them about these days.

“They all want to play football and look pretty, but he likes to get stuck in and make some big challenges.”

Gibbens, who has also made appearances off the bench at Chorley and Wrexham, by no means held back against the big, strong Alfreton side in their 1-1 draw.

Ben Davies and Craig Elliott.

“I was interested to see how he would do as you’re not going to come across more physical teams than Alfreton,” Elliott added.

“He stood up to every challenge and I’m looking forward to working with him. He’s had a good rough and tumble match.”

Middleton remains out of action after breaking a bone in his foot while training in the gym in early November.

While he no-longer needs to wear a compression boot, it is expected he will remain out of action for another six weeks.

“I am gutted about that,” Elliott added.

“He gives us good cover at centre back and right back and knows this league.

“He was one of my bigger signings in the summer and he’s just had a bit of a stop-start season.

“It’s gutting but we’re looking probably mid-February before he’s back.”

Fellow right back Ben Davies has extended his contract, which ran out on January 1, until the end of the season.

Reflecting on the 1-1 draw at Alfreton, Elliott was left fuming by two decisions he felt went against his side.

Nicky Walker saw a second goal of the day ruled out for offside, slotting home after teammate Max Wright snuck the ball past Reds keeper Sam Ramsbottom, while referee Aaron Bannister refused to give Boston a stoppage-time penalty after Gavin Allott was floored in the box.

“It looks a penalty and looks a goal, I’m gutted about that,” the manager continued.

“It looks a goal for me. It looks like he (Wright) has come from behind the ball. The other thing is the keeper’s hit him late as well, so if it’s not a goal it’s a free kick.

“It looks a penalty in the last minute, the lad’s nudged him. The ref’s had a disappointing game if I’m honest with you.”