Alex Pike backed Justin Bennett to keep banging in the goals for Gosport Borough after signing the prolific striker to a new three-year deal.
Bennett had been linked with Blue Square Bet South outfit Dorchester Town.
But following Gosport’s play-off victory at Poole on Monday, which moved them into the Southern League premier division, Borough have tied down the man who bagged 42 goals this season to a new contract.
Gosport manager Pike regards his highly-rated striker as an important part of his plans to take the club forward in the next few years
‘Justin scored 42 goals this season and has won three golden boots in the past four years in the Southern League,’ said Pike.
‘He is a match-winner and, in the play-off final against Poole, he proved the difference between the two sides.
‘Proven strikers are hard to come by.
‘Justin has been with us for five years and, in this day and age, proved to be a loyal servant.
‘His new contract will keep him with us until he is 33 years old and he has an important part to play in what promises to be exciting times at the club.’
It is no surprise that Bennett was Pike’s first target as he looks to prepare for life in the premier division.
Pike knows stepping up will present a big challenge but is determined to use it as a stepping stone to even greater achievements.
‘We are a progressive and ambitious club,’ said Pike.
‘As such, we don’t want to sell our best players.
‘We have a five-year plan to get into Conference South and we are two years ahead of schedule.
‘There is a determination in this club to get there, however long it takes.
‘It is important that we don’t stand still.
‘We are going in to the premier division looking to compete, take things steadily and see where it gets us.
‘Justin is an integral part of those plans.
‘There are some great youngsters coming through and we need to add two or three players experienced at the higher level.’