Gale to give fringe players chance to shine

New deal: Jake Newton
New deal: Jake Newton
Pompey midfielder Ben Close Picture: Joe Pepler

Gaffer: Pompey better with Close in the middle

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Shaun Gale is sending a makeshift Hawks squad to face Wessex League premier division side Blackfield & Langley at Gang Warily on the Waterside tonight (7.45pm).

The team is expected to include most of the players who were on duty for the opening pre-season friendly against Brighton & Hove Albion last Saturday.

‘We won’t be using any of the first-team players because we only have a small squad and it is important that we look after them at this stage,’ said Gale.

‘It is another chance for the triallists and Academy boys to show what they can do.

‘The Academy boys will have a chance to show if they can stand up to men’s football and stake their claim to be around the first team squad.

‘In previous years we might have been guilty of not having enough opportunities for the youngsters in our preparations.

‘Blackfield are building a good side with decent players and this will be a good test.’

Gale was delighted to finally tie up a deal with last season’s player of the year Jake Newton this week, keeping him at West Leigh Park for another season.

At one stage it looked as if Newton was leaving the club after failing to agree terms on a new contract, but Gale has convinced him to stay.

‘Jake wanted to stay and we want him here but it was a case of coming up with the correct deal,’ said Gale.

‘We are not in a position to give him any more money and he has come back on the same deal as last season.

‘There are a couple of incentives in there, though, that could improve what he gets.’

Gale was impressed by his side’s performance against Pompey on Monday night.

Triallists Perry Ryan and Chamal Fenelon caught the eye, and it is believed Gale is keen on taking both of them on.

Meanwhile, Wessex League Moneyfields host two games against Sussex County League visitors Chichester City at Dover Road tomorrow (1pm and 3pm), while premier division newcomers Horndean entertain Southern League Gosport Borough at Five Heads Park (3pm).

Other friendlies: United Services Portsmouth v Lymington Town, QK Southampton v Fareham Town, and New Milton v AFC Portchester.