Pike: Still plenty to play for

Gosport Borough boss Alex Pike
Gosport Borough boss Alex Pike
Baffins Milton Rovers found it tough against Portland. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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Gosport Borough may have already booked their place in the Southern League division one south & west play-offs, but boss Alex Pike insists they still have plenty to play for.

The Privett Park club go to Mangotsfield for their final away game of the season knowing that, if they remain second in the table, it will give them home advantage in the promotion play-offs.

And after scraping to only a 4-3 win over basement-boys Stourport Swifts last time out, Pike is looking for an improvement in his side’s performance.

‘I let my team know that I wasn’t happy with the way they conceded three goals to a team that have already been relegated,’ said Pike.

‘It was down to a mental issue and a degree of over-confidence.

‘You can’t beat the top-three sides like we did and then almost slip up against the bottom side.

‘Staying second in the league is vitally important to us because it would guarantee home advantage in the play-offs.

‘With the outstanding record we have at home over the past two years, it could prove crucial.

‘We still have a lot to play for and need to keep our good run of results going.’

Pike, however, has had to call in reinforcements for tomorrow’s away game after finding his squad badly hit by injuries, suspension and unavailability.

Brett Poate (groin), Lee Molyneaux (foot), Gavin Jones (fractured nose and cheekbone), Nathan Kirby (wedding), James Ford (work commitments) and Liam Sewell (suspended) are all missing.

Utility-midfielder Connor McCormack has been called back from Bournemouth Poppies where he has spent most of the season, while central defender Alex Shepherd has returned from Horndean.

‘A few players have been brought back in to bolster the squad,’ said Pike.

‘I find myself between the devil and the deep blue sea.

‘The problem has come at the worse time possible.

‘It is a dilemma because I want to win the last two games but at the same time I don’t want to risk losing players with injury before the play-offs.

‘I may have to make some sacrifices.

‘Mangotsfield will present us with a tough test.

‘Up until last weekend, they had gone nine games without a loss – and that included games against a number of the top sides.

‘They are a solid outfit.

‘The finishing line is now in sight and I have every confidence we can go and get the right result at Mangotsfield.’

Gosport Borough: Ashmore, Harrop, Woodward, Cooke, Martin, Wilde, Wooden, McCormack, Humble, Claridge, Bennett, Feeney, Langworthy, Boswell, Shepherd, Way.