Pike keen to tempt Vine into long Borough stay

Scott Hamilton scores Fareham's second goal. Picture: Neil Marshall (171158-8)

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Alex Pike admits he would like to hang on to Rowan Vine.

The former Pompey striker has netted three goals in five games since arriving at Privett Park a month ago and is expected to start again in the trip to second-placed Oxford City tomorrow in Vanarama National League South.

Rowan Vine. Picture Ian Hargreaves (151663-6)

Rowan Vine. Picture Ian Hargreaves (151663-6)

Vine, who cost £2.5m when he joined Birmingham from Luton in 2007, was briefly at neighbours Hawks but could not force his way into Lee Bradbury’s first-team plans.

After moving on to Borough, the 33-year-old is still keen to return to the professional ranks and Pike wants to hold talks about tying him down for a longer stay.

The difficulty for Pike, however, is that striker Jamie White is now back from a loan spell at Poole Town and Lee Wort is also in contention to partner leading goalscorer Justin Bennett.

Pike said: ‘I need to sit down and speak to Rowan.

‘Jamie White is now back with us from Poole Town.

‘He scored two or three goals and got some games under his belt – that’s why we sent him there.

‘We haven’t got a massive budget so I don’t know if I can afford to have him and Rowan.

‘It might be possible to keep both of them but I don’t know yet.

‘With Rowan, we said we would see how it goes for a month and then have a chat after that.

‘But he has got better and better. He contributes a lot on and off the pitch.

‘He knows the game inside out and I wouldn’t expect anything less from a player who has gone for £4.5m in transfer fees in his time. I like him as a player and a person and I would like to keep him around but it all depends on the budget.

‘You usually want four strikers but you’ve also got to fit them into the budget. That has to come first.’

Bennett, who has scored 19 times this season, needs just one goal to reach the milestone of 250 for Borough against the same opponents he scored his first for the club.

Pike, however, is more concerned with his team’s achievements.

He said: ‘Players might be interested in individual statistics but I’m not too bothered.

‘If he gets his 250th goal and we get the right result, I’ll be happy.

‘He is flying at the moment. Long may that continue.’

And with Oxford boasting a Spanish flavour in their team, Pike has called in a favour from a player who spent the season with them last term.

He said: ‘Oxford City’s assistant manager is Spanish and they have five or six Spaniards in their team.

‘I spoke to Paco Saez and he knows a lot of the players. They happen to be good league players.

‘It will be interesting to see if they can maintain this sort of form as the season goes on.

‘Last week, we thoroughly deserved to win in awful conditions against Weston-super-Mare. The 1-0 scoreline flattered them.

‘But it’s a different kettle of fish against Oxford City. They have only lost twice all season.’