Pike offers Wembley hope

Justin Bennett, centre, celebrates his double against Boreham Wood with Adam Wilde and captain Sam Pearce Picture: Dave Haines
Justin Bennett, centre, celebrates his double against Boreham Wood with Adam Wilde and captain Sam Pearce Picture: Dave Haines
Ryan Pennery netted for Moneyfields. Picture: Neil Marshall (171026-11)

Trophy dream is over for Moneys

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Alex Pike insists Wembley places are still up for grabs.

The Gosport Borough boss denied he has already made his decision on team selection for the FA Trophy final this Sunday.

Instead, he will offer players one last chance to stake a claim for a spot in the starting line-up in tonight’s Skrill South trip to promotion-chasing Sutton United.

Whether it’s a motivational tactic or the honest truth is open to question.

But after a confident 2-1 win over Boreham Wood at the weekend, which took Borough out of the relegation places, Pike wants to concentrate on one more game before all the focus switches to the big day at Wembley.

He also joked that selection could come down to bribery!

When asked about his starting line-up for Sunday’s game with Cambridge United, Pike said: ‘No, I don’t know it yet.

‘I’ve always been a manager that whoever pays me the most money will be in the side!

‘All of the places are up for grabs and no decisions have been made yet.

‘The good thing is that the club have allowed me to take the players away on Thursday.

‘I will not be thinking about Wembley until Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

‘We will have a couple of training sessions and QPR have very kindly allowed us to use their training ground.

‘We will go away and I will have a look at it.

‘I’ve got DVDs on Cambridge to watch but I can’t afford to think about it until we have got the Sutton game out of the way. That’s the next one on my mind.’

Sutton are currently third in the league table and are on the back of a 4-0 trouncing of Basingstoke.

But Pike has warned the high-fliers not to take his team lightly, with Borough securing 10 points from a possible 12 following three wins and a draw in their past four games.

‘They (Sutton) are in form as well,’ said Pike.

‘They are flying and they are offering bids for players left, right and centre to strengthen them because they realise they have a chance of promotion.

‘They might think that it’s the Tuesday before we play at Wembley and they will catch us on the hop or the players won’t be up for it.

‘But I think we might surprise them.’

Pike’s selection will also be interesing – especially with Justin Bennett breaking the club’s all-time goalscoring record to reach 193 goals with his double against Boreham Wood.

‘Before Justin went away, he didn’t look like he would score a goal.’ said Pike.

‘But he’s gone to Poole Town, scored seven in six and has taken that on to 11 in eight. It shows that the confidence is flowing and that’s what happens with goalscorers.

‘Sometimes the manager has to take him out of the fray.

‘Justin was fully aware of why I did it but he had to go along with it – you can’t force people to go out on loan.

‘He’s benefited from that but he has proved once again that he is a natural goalscorer and has shown he can do it at this level.

‘He is probably my best finisher in the club and is playing himself in.

‘The first one on Saturday was instinctive but the second one was a great touch to create the space and fired it in.

‘But if this club wants to survive in Skrill South, you need your forwards firing.’