Pike: Three is magic Borough number

Gosport Borough manager Alex Pike  Picture: Paul Jacobs
Gosport Borough manager Alex Pike Picture: Paul Jacobs
AFC Portchester cruised to victory. Picture: Neil Marshall

Frustration for Fareham... Royals cruise through

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Alex Pike believes he needs three new players to challenge at the other end of Skrill South next season.

The Gosport Borough boss saw his side effectively seal their survival with a 2-0 victory over Basingstoke on Tuesday.

And his men could extend their impressive recent run with another win at Hayes & Yeading tonight (7.45pm).

But Pike has already started turning his attentions to next term and is clearly ambitious about what he thinks the club can achieve.

He said: ‘I’ve got a good squad and I don’t want to lose anyone but if we can get those two or three quality players in, I think we can challenge at the other end of the table next season.

‘If we lose players, I have to go out and find more replacements in the summer and I don’t want to do that.

‘But I want three players with experience at this level or higher – a striker, a central midfielder and a centre-back to just improve the spine of the team that little bit.

‘We have to work within our budgets.

‘But if we can do that, I think we will be a very good side.

‘I’m now looking to see how far short we will be from making the play-offs this season.

‘By my reckoning, I think we will be about six wins short.

‘And it helps me have a look at this squad and build for next season to see how we can go about making up those six wins or so. I know where we need to strengthen.

‘I know this league a little bit better now and I’m certain we will compete even better next season.’

While the achievement of keeping Borough in the division should not be overlooked after their two successive promotions, Pike insisted there was a tinge of disappointment that his side had not been able to continue their remarkable run through the leagues.

He said: ‘People might think I am taking the mickey but it’s disappointing to me.

‘I genuinely felt we could have competed at the other end of the table.

‘We have come up a little bit short this season.

‘The run to Wembley has softened the blow but I wanted to do better in this league and next season I’m sure we will. I have always set my standards high whatever league we have been in.

‘I won’t accept just trying to stay in a division as success.

‘But I have learnt lessons this season and I’m sure my players have, too.

‘We’ve always been a good side in the second half of the season.

‘Players have adapted to this level again.

‘I had players who had played at this standard but had been out of it for two or three years and it takes time to get used to it again.

‘Now I’m desperate to get this team into the top half.

‘I think we deserve it over the season and it will give us something to build on.’

Elsewhere, Fareham Town host Sholing in the Wessex League premier division (7.45pm).

The Reds are 10th – aiming to close the six-point gap on ninth-placed Moneyfields.

Sholing are three points adrift of leaders Alresford Town but have five games in hand.