Borough ‘affected’ by off-field concerns

Rory Williams
Rory Williams
Gosport Borough Football Club's Privett Park ground

Football club agrees to pay rent it owes to ground landlord

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Alex Pike has conceded Gosport Borough’s off-field financial problems may be hampering their National League South play-off push.

Borough play host to Oxford City tomorrow (3pm) looking to reassert their authority in the promotion race.

The Privett Park side sit in fourth spot in the league table but are on a three-game winless run with the chasing pack closing in.

Eighth-placed Oxford represent a tough test and arrive on the south coast with a better record on the road than at their own ground.

But with Gosport failing to pay both their players or tax bill over the course of the month, Pike has admitted he and his squad have been affected by non-football matters.

He said: ‘As a football manager I am just like any of the players.

‘Maybe I am in a luckier position than most in that I have got a pension and a missus that works.

‘But I am in the same position.

‘It makes it extremely difficult as a manager to manage when you have got these problems.

‘Whether you like it or not, of course it is going to psychologically affect the players.

‘I am not stupid – this situation is going on, of course it is going to have an effect.

‘You would be an idiot not to say that.

‘Who knows whether off-the-field issues have played a part in recent results.

‘I don’t know if it will have an effect or not on us getting promoted.

‘We will have to wait and see.’

Having been operating under a transfer embargo for the last six weeks, Pike has been unable to bring new players in to the fold.

And while insisting it is business as usual in the way he is approaching tomorrow’s game, Borough’s boss has expressed concerns other clubs will now be eyeing members of his squad.

He said: ‘I will approach the game in exactly the same manner as I have been approaching games in the last six weeks.

‘I am juggling balls in the air and I will see which ones I can keep up.

‘I have been putting players out and bringing players back and that is what a manager has to do.

‘There will be vultures circling as well.

‘There is a transfer deadline of March 31 – there will be other clubs seeing that and they will be circling

‘I am a realist, I know that.’

Pike, however, has moved to dismiss suggestions players have not showed up to training as ‘rubbish’ as well as quashing any talk his squad are now free agents.

‘They have all been training because if they didn’t turn up I would be in a position then to fine them a week’s wages!’ he added.

‘That’s rubbish.

‘The players aren’t free agents, it’s not anarchy – they can’t rule.

‘If they start breaking the conditions of their contracts I can start fining them a week’s wages and all of a sudden we will only owe them a week’s wages.’

Borough hope to welcome Rory Williams and Lee Wort back into the fold after they limped out of Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to Dartford.