LEROY LITA | FORWARD

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BORN
DoB
HEIGHT
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Kinshasa, Zaire
28.12.1984
5ft 9"
@leroylita8

PLAYER BIO

Vastly experienced former Premier League striker who joined the Pitmen from league rivals Stratford Town in March 2021

Zaire-born but capped by England nine times at U21 level, Lita started out as a junior at Chelsea before joining Bristol City as a trainee at the start of the 2002-203 season. He scored his first senior goal in September 2002 in a game against Port Vale but failed to become an established player until the 2004-2005 season when Brian Tinnion took over as manager, where he scored twenty-nine times for the Robins in all competitions

This goal return attracted the attention of bigger clubs, with Reading splashing out a then club-record fee of £1 million to bring Lita to the Majeski Stadium in July 2005. Reading were to dominate the Championship season, with Lita laying down a marker on his debut with a goal against Plymouth Argyle and scoring eleven times during the campaign as the Royals won the league with a record 106 points

Lita adapted well to the step up into the Premier League the following season, scoring seven goals against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United but was understudy to the regular strike partnership Kevin Doyle and Dave Kitson for much of the 2006-2007 campaign. The following season was one of frustration, as injuries and a lack of form saw Lita loaned out to Charlton Athletic for a spell in March 2008 to gain some much-needed match action

The start of the following season saw Lita head out on loan once more with a move to Championship strugglers Norwich City, where he found his scoring touch once more with a hat-trick against Wolves in October 2008. His loan at Carrow Road was extended twice as he scored seven times in sixteen appearances, ending the season as the relegated Canaries' top scorer despite returning to Reading in January 2009

His return to Reading saw him subject to a transfer bid from Sheffield United, who offered the Royals a seven-figure fee for the striker. However, the transfer could not be finalised as the Blades refused to pay the £1.2 million signing on fee demanded by the striker and his advisors. At the end of the season, Lita was released at the end of his contract and became a much-in-demand free agent

Championship side Middlesbrough signed Lita in August 2009 on a two-year contract, with the striker hitting the ground running at the Riverside Stadium with regular goal contributions for Gordon Strachan's side over his two-year spell there

Once again, his goalscoring form attracted interest from other clubs, with Premier League new boys Swansea City paying a cool £1.75 million to take Lita to the Liberty Stadium in August 2011. However, this was to prove a disastrous move for the player as he only managed six starts in three seasons, despite initially making a positive start to his time there with three goals in the opening two months of the new season

Lita was loaned to Championship side Birmingham City on an emergency loan at the start of the 2012-2013 season, scoring three times in nine games at St. Andrews before rejoining Swansea after picking up a knock

In January 2013, he spent time on loan at Championship strugglers Sheffield Wednesday in a deal that ran until the end of the season, scoring a goal every other game as the Owls narrowly avoided the drop

With Lita no closer to returning to the fray at Swansea the following season, he joined Brighton & Hove Albion on a two-month loan in October 2013, only managing a solitary goal for Championship high-flyers whilst there

His long-term deal at Swansea came to end in the summer of 2014, with League One side Barnsley signing the player on a one-year contract. Games - and goals - were hard to come by during the 2014-2015 campaign for Lita, with only two goals to his name as the Tykes finished in eleventh position. Lita finished the season out on loan at League Two side Notts County, spending the final two months at Meadow Lane until his deal with Barnsley had expired

Free-agent Lita opted to move abroad in the summer of 2015, joining Greek second-tier side AO Chania for the season but only making a handful of appearances for the Crete-based outfit before returning to England in March 2016 to join League Two strugglers Yeovil Town and help them avoid the drop back into non-league football

Lita opted to take a spell away from football before signing for Thai League T1 side Sisaket in January 2017. He made fifteen starts, scoring five times, before becoming a free agent once more in September 2017

His next stop was to ambitious Isthmian Premier League side Margate, who signed the veteran striker in September 2018 but only saw four starts for the player as he also linked up with Haverhill Rovers as a coach

The start of the 2019-2020 season saw Lita make the move to Southern Premier League South side Salisbury for a short spell, scoring twice in three games before joining Vanarama National League South side Chelmsford City. However, the coronavirus pandemic put paid to Lita's progress there as the season was subsequently voided early in 2020

Having moved to Nuneaton with his partner in the summer of 2020, Lita joined the Nuneaton Borough ahead of the 2020-2021 Southern Premier League Central season. Once again, however, the coronavirus pandemic ended the season before it had barely got started and Lita's appearances at Liberty Way were limited

He agreed to remain at Boro for the 2021-2022 season and made twelve starts for a struggling Nuneaton side before electing to join league rivals Stratford Town in January 2022. He played nine times, scoring twice - including an opportunistic goal against the Pitmen at Keys Park in February - before moving to Hednesford the following month to add some much-needed experience and firepower to the Pitmen's forward line

His impact at Keys Park was instant as he plundered a superb hat-trick on his debut against Stourbridge and grabbed further goals against Biggleswade Town, Tamworth and Barwell to make it six goals from six games before the end of the 2020-2021 season

In May 2021, Lita was one of the first players from the 2021-2022 squad to agree terms for the following Southern Premier League Central season

 

* Denotes playing records removed after 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons were voided due to coronavirus pandemic