Pike on defender search

Pompey defenderJack Whatmough Picture: Barry Zee
Pompey defenderJack Whatmough Picture: Barry Zee
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Alex Pike is still in the market for a new centre-back after seeing two attempts to bring in defensive reinforecements hit the buffers this week.

The Gosport Borough boss is on the hunt for new blood, with skipper Sam Pearce out suspended again for tomorrow’s home showdown with fellow play-off-chasers Ebbsfleet.

After a move for ex-QPR youngster Manny Monthe broke down because of ‘agent interference’, Pike also failed with a cheeky enquiry to take Pompey’s Jack Whatmough on a short-term loan.

The Blues prospect has been out of the side in recent weeks and Pike watched him in the reserves earlier this week, but no agreement was reached.

Pike, however, remains hopeful of adding to his squad, with Robbie Matthews also struggling with a groin problem to leave him short of defensive options.

The Borough boss said: ‘I’m still looking and I’m still hopeful of getting someone in.

‘I would have taken Jack Whatmough but that’s a no go.

‘I’ve ended my interest in Manny Monthe after severe interference from his agent.

‘The agent wanted him to sign an 18-month contract or until the end of the season and I hadn’t seen the lad play. He’d been recommended to me.

‘I wanted to see him play for two games before deciding whether to give him a contract.

‘The player agreed but the agent wouldn’t let it happen.

‘The lad is 19, he has been at QPR and has been on loan at Southport.

‘He’s got a good pedigree.

‘But I don’t think there is a place for agents at our level. The agents want to make money out of young kids and they haven’t even seen them play.

‘They have got no real investment and they try to move these players around like lumps of meat.’

Borough could move back into the play-off places with a victory over big-spending Ebbsfleet, and Pike believes his side are back on track after their recent blip.

He said: ‘It’s no coincidence that Andy Forbes, Brett Poate and Rory Williams are back.

‘I’ve still got Sam Pearce out suspended but I’ve got three of my regular back four back and results have improved.

‘I would think Ebbsfleet are nailed on to make the play-offs.

‘You can’t spend that amount of money and bring that level of experience into your club and not get into the play-offs.

‘They have brought 10 players in over the past few weeks.

‘The hope is that we can catch them before they have bedded in.

‘We beat them 3-0 away and, after that game, they sacked the manager Steve Brown.

‘I’m sure that will serve as motivation.

‘But I saw the confidence come back in the Basingstoke game and we should have won that but conceded with the last kick of the game.

‘But we dusted ourselves down and we have bounced back against Bishop’s Stortford.’

Mike Carter and Lee Molyneaux join Pearce on the sidelines as they serve their bans, but Dan Wooden is back after missing last weekend’s 2-0 win over Bishops Stortford.

GOSPORT: (from) Ashmore, Forbes, Matthews, Poate, Williams, Smith, Dunford, Robinson, Ramsey, Wooden, Paterson, Bennett, Wilde, Saez, Wort, Da Costa, Benham.