Gosport Borough are sweating on the fitness of key men as they continue their push for the Southern League premier division play-offs at Banbury United (3pm).
Jamie Brown – along with skipper Brett Poate – is struggling with a hamstring injury.
Both have played important roles in Borough’s 16-game unbeaten league run and rise to the fringes of the play-off places.
Alex Pike believes Brown – in particular – could make all the difference at a difficult venue like Banbury, too.
The Privett Park boss said: ‘Jamie is one of those players it is a pleasure to pay and is worth every penny.
‘He wears his heart on his sleeve and gives you 110-per- cent every game.
‘What he lacks in ability in some areas he more than makes up for in effort and work-rate.
‘His experience is invaluable and we will need that at Banbury.
‘They might not be in the higher echelons but in recent weeks they have had good home wins over top sides, Leamington and Hemel Hempstead.
‘It shows they won’t be a pushover and will provide us with another stern test.’
Borough travel with confidence after an outstanding 2-1 win at play-off rivals Barwell.
Pike’s team shrugged off the long midweek journey to Leicestershire and were good value for their win.
The final scoreline flattered their hosts – who only scored their consolation in stoppage-time.
‘What is most pleasing is we have had to show our strength in depth in the last few weeks,’ said Pike.
‘Justin Bennett (top scorer) is away and we have had a few injuries but the players coming in have kept it going.
‘In our unbeaten run we’ve played all the top five – so we can keep taking confidence from that.
‘Every boss knows his team can’t go undefeated forever.
‘But I am looking for us to keep it going until April when it really counts.’
Pike also rubbished rumours the players’ wage cheques had bounced – following a period of financial instability at the club.
‘The players have not only been paid what they were owed but also been given a week in advance,’ said Pike.
‘One player had a problem with his cheque but that was down to a misunderstanding at the bank.’
GOSPORT BOROUGH: Ashmore, King, Molyneux, Cooke, Poate, Martin, Wooden, Woodward, Smith, Dunford, Igoe, Williams, Brown, Macklin, Wilson, Wilde