GOSPORT BOROUGH will give a debut to new central defender Sam Pearce in their Southern League premier division match at Bedford Town (3pm).
Pearce has arrived on a three-month loan deal from the Hawks and Borough boss Alex Pike is hoping he can help solve his side’s defensive frailties.
‘Most of the games we have lost this season have been by the odd goal,’ said Pike.
‘That has been down to a series of individual errors and we have been punished for them.
‘It has been a frustrating season to date but I still believe in my players and we have not become a bad team overnight.
‘Hopefully, Sam will help us plug those gaps. He has experience of playing at a higher level and will give us a presence in the heart of the defence.’
The 25-year-old has made 107 appearances for the Hawks in the past three seasons and recently had a spell as captain.
His tough, rugged approach might be just what Borough need – particularly when defending set-pieces, where they have been vulnerable this season.
Borough suffered a disappointing fortnight after being knocked out of both the FA Cup and FA Trophy.
In that period, Borough also slipped into the bottom three in the league, and Pike recognises the need to improve quickly.
‘We had a good run in the Cup and it’s been disappointing that we haven’t transferred that form into our league games,’ he said.
‘Our results have shown we are capable of beating the top teams and we fear nobody.
‘But it is important that we start putting points on the board and I have no doubts in our ability to do so.
‘Once we adapt and find our feet I am sure we will climb well away from danger.
‘We possess the ability and technique and it is a question of getting self belief into the players’ heads.’
Pearce’s arrival at Privett Park is a timely one with Pike seeing a string of defenders ruled out by injury.
Aaron Cook (knee), Brett Poate (groin) and Lee Molyneaux (ankle) are all sidelined.
The midweek friendly against Portsmouth also proved costly, with midfielder Tom Dunford breaking his hand.
Pike, though, has recalled midfielder George Way from his loan at Horndean and is also considering bringing back Mike Turvey from the Deans.