Pike keen to use Wealdstone loss as motivation

Gosport Borough boss Alex Pike. Picture: Paul Jacobs (15002-3)
Gosport Borough boss Alex Pike. Picture: Paul Jacobs (15002-3)
James Thompson celebrates his goal against Dunstable. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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Alex Pike has called on his Gosport Borough troops to right the wrongs of last season’s Wealdstone capitulation.

Borough travel to the west London outfit tonight in National League South eager to wipe out the memories of the 3-0 loss in March of last year, which effectively killed off Gosport’s play-off hopes.

We went up there and got absolutely thrashed last season

Alex Pike

It was a miserable night for Borough with Pike writing off their promotion dreams in the immediate aftermath, while Wealdstone fans revelled in their success with chants of: ‘Can we play you every week?’

And Pike insists he will use that experience as motivation to keep Borough’s play-off bid ticking along.

He said: ‘We went up there and got absolutely thrashed last season.

‘We were beaten physically, we were beaten in a football sense and it was embarrassing for me and the players.

‘You remind a few players of one or two things and plant a few seeds to get a reaction.

‘I’m sure the players who were there for that game last season will want to right a few of those wrongs.

‘It’s not a nice place to go and their crowd can get on top of you.

‘But I would rather remind players about it.

‘I expect my players to be mentally tough and to be able to cope with that, rather than forget all about it to protect them.

‘Wealdstone is not a place for mentally-weak players. We need to stand up to it.’

The two sides played out a 1-1 draw at Privett Park just nine days ago in awful weather conditions and Pike believes there is little to learn from that encounter.

He said: ‘It’s difficult to judge. The pitch was a leveller and the strong wind gave a distinct advantage to whoever was kicking with it.

‘So it’s hard to know what sort of team they are.

‘There is no doubt they have got some good players.

‘The two up front in Jefferson Louis and Scott Davies are dangerous.’

Gosport’s clash with Eastbourne was postponed at the weekend.

And the Borough boss thinks that could work in his side’s favour.

He said: ‘We should have been playing Eastbourne but they were involved in the FA Trophy.

‘We should have played Saturday and Monday, so it’s worked out quite well for us that we haven’t got two games in the space of three days. We need to make the most of that.’

Skipper Sam Pearce made his long-awaited playing return after knee surgery in the midweek 6-3 win over Sholing in the Russell-Cotes Cup quarter-final.

But Pike insists he needs more time to work on his fitness.

He said: ‘He didn’t look rusty but he looked like the Pillsbury Doughboy.

‘It might take him a few weeks to get to full fitness and we don’t want to rush him back.’