Borough to benefit from ‘beefed up’ squad

Brett Poate, left, with withdrawn from the action against Bath City and replaced by River Allen
Brett Poate, left, with withdrawn from the action against Bath City and replaced by River Allen
New Gosport Borough chairman Iain Sellstrom

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ASSISTANT MANAGER Mick Catlin believes the arrival of fresh faces can prove the key to Gosport Borough achieving their Vanarama Conference South play-off ambitions.

Borough, who currently sit sixth in the table, have been busy recruiting in recent weeks as they attempt to maintain their promotion challenge.

River Allen (Plymouth Argyle) and Matt Butcher (Bournemouth) have both been brought in on loan, while Andy Robinson (Dorchester Town) has signed on a permanent deal until the end of the season.

All three are expected to feature in the squad as the Privett Park side host Sutton United tonight in the league (7.45pm).

‘It was important we beefed up our squad as we move into the business end of the season,’ said Catlin.

‘All the top seven or eight teams in our league have done the same.

‘With Mike Carter due back from his suspension, it gives us a surplus of midfield players.

‘At this stage, though, you can’t have too much quality in your squad.

‘We don’t run a reserve team so it is vital to have bodies around to replace people when they get injured.

‘It has also increased the competition for places which is a good thing.

‘Players are kept on their toes knowing there are others waiting to take their shirt if they don’t perform.

‘It is no coincidence that we suffered a blip in form when we were down to the barebones and didn’t have that.’

The need for reinforcements was clear against Bath City at the weekend, when Brett Poate was forced off after 20 minutes with a recurrence of his calf injury.

Robinson moved back into the centre of defence and Allen slotted into midfield for his debut.

Both players made valuable contributions as Borough came from behind to chalk up a much-needed 3-1 win.

‘River Allen got better as the game went on and looks a quality player,’ added Catlin.

‘The lad is technically very good, a great passer of the ball, and is prepared to work hard to help in defence.

‘He is only 19 but has already made some senior appearances for Plymouth Argyle in the Football League this season.

‘Andy Robinson was also excellent for us and has just signed a contract until the end of next season.’

Gosport showed their character with a storming second-half display to get the better of their West Country visitors.

Catlin felt the team didn’t deserve to be behind at the break and by the end thoroughly deserved the three points.

Borough are handily placed just outside the play-off places – four points behind Whitehawk with a game in hand.

The home side need another win tonight to maintain the pressure on the teams immediately above them.

Poate’s calf problems are likely to keep him out for a while, and Carter sits out the final game of his suspension.

Catlin said: ‘We still believe we are in with a chance of making the play-offs.’

Gosport Borough: Ashmore, Saez, Williams, Robinson, Allen, Pearce, Dunford, Smith, Paterson, Bennett, Wooden, Forbes, Butler, Wort, Ramsey