Portchester aim to move on up the pyramid

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Hawks boss Lee Bradbury. Picture: Habibur Rahman (170972-31)

Bradbury hails his steely Hawks

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AFC Portchester have set their sights on climbing up the non-league pyramid.

Director of football Mick Jenkins is calling on the team to follow Gosport Borough’s example.

Alex Pike’s Privett Park outfit climbed up two divisions, from Southern League division one south west to Blue Square Bet South, with successive promotions.

Jenkins believes their rapid rise has shown the way as Portchester aim to move up and out of the Wessex League.

He is convinced the club are heading in the right direction.

They have new main sponsors in Your Move – and have secured support from a number of other local businesses.

Portchester have also been busy in the transfer market this summer.

Central-defender Nathan Kirby has arrived from Hayling, along with striker Jack Salter-Vaile.

Pacy winger Louie Castles has joined from Horndean.

And tenacious midfielder Joe Bye has completed a switch to Wicor Rec from GE Hamble.

The club are also hoping striker Stefan Gaisie will return after playing for the club last season when they finished 14th in the Wessex premier division.

It promises to be a tough league this season.

Sholing and Winchester City have dropped down from the Southern League and will be expecting to do well.

‘The league will be stronger,’ said Jenkins.

‘However, we are putting into place the foundations to help us progress and move forward in the next few years.

‘All our new players bring something to improve and compliment our squad.

‘We feel we have a good quality squad of players – including some talented youngsters coming through, who can do well.’

‘A lot of hard work has been put in, making sure we get things right.

‘We have new sponsors and a new clubhouse which will include hospitality facilities to increase our revenue streams.’

Management team Graham Rix and Louie Bell took over from Glenn Bridgman midway through last season.

They have carried on the former manager’s good work at the club.

And off the field, everything is coming together nicely as well.

Jenkins added: ‘Developments include a new stand and a new pitch.

‘It has cost a four-figure sum to go with our recently-developed dressing rooms.

‘We are a forward-looking club and cater for up to 40 teams from junior to senior level.

‘Our floodlights are also being upgraded to Southern League level and that is where we eventually want to reach.

‘Gosport Borough have shown what is possible with their rise into the Blue Square Bet South, which is a great achievement.’

Portchester kick off their pre-season in style with their annual six-a-side youth tournament, involving up to 130 teams from Saturday, July 13 to Sunday, July 14.

The senior side will also be in action on Saturday, July 13 as they play their first summer friendly at Selsey.