Alex Pike insists he can rely on Brett Poate to keep his cool in his side’s return derby clash with the Hawks.
The Gosport Borough defender was sent off for a second yellow card in the first half of the 3-0 Boxing Day defeat at Westleigh Park – a key moment in the game.
Poate is available for selection for the Privett Park showdown against his former club as his ban has not started yet.
While the Borough boss may well have had different views behind the closed doors of the dressing room, he gave Poate his public backing.
Pike said: ‘He’s available.
‘I trust him. He is an experienced player and an integral part of the team.
‘In the heat of the moment, these things happen.
‘The annoying thing was that five minutes beforehand, Scott Jones should have been sent off.
‘He could have been sent off but he wasn’t and then Brett was sent off.
‘Lee Bradbury showed a good bit of management in taking Jones off at half-time.
‘But I think that was an indication to the referee that he got it wrong.’
Gosport have not had much luck over the festive period, with strong winds damaging the clubhouse roof and floodlight failure against Basingstoke causing that match to be abandoned.
Pike added: ‘Things seem to be conspiring against the club at the moment but the floodlights are fixed.
‘It’s hard to call these derby games but we are at home so we’ll see where that takes us.’
Mike Gosney is battling to return after a back problem and faces a late fitness test.