Justin Bennett admits the possible loss of his strike partner could have a major bearing on Gosport Borough’s hopes this season.
The 32-year-old top goalscorer has struck up an excellent understanding with Matt Paterson this term and the duo have scored a staggering 42 goals between them in all competitions.
But ahead of tomorrow’s Vanarama Conference South trip to St Albans, Bennett knows Borough’s promotion challenge could be hit hard if Swindon Town’s approach leads to a move for Paterson, while midfielder Mike Carter has also attracted interest.
Bennett said: ‘They have been playing well and it’s good for them.
‘I think they’ve shown they are both capable of playing at a higher level of football but it reflects well on the team and the club.
‘Pato has got experience in the Football League. You can see from his movement he is good enough and if he gets the chance, he is more than capable of taking it.
‘If you lose players like that, they are difficult to replace and there’s no denying it would have a big impact.
‘But Lee Wort has been doing well when he’s come on so we have strength in depth and we’ve got Robbie Matthews, who hasn’t been getting much of a look-in.
‘Robbie knows this league and has played in teams that have won it, so he knows what he’s doing.
‘If it happens, it’s up to us to keep things going and for others to take their chance. We will see.’
Bennett has certainly benefited from playing alongside Paterson and his double in the 3-1 win over the Hawks on New Year’s Day owed plenty to their combination again.
That took his tally to 16 league goals and 25 for the season and has seen another rethink on his targets.
He said: ‘I’ve already extended my target once but maybe I need to be looking at 40 now.
‘I never expected to be at 25 at this point in the season.
‘There are still plenty of games to play and there’s no reason why we can’t keep it going as a team.
‘Everyone says the table starts to take shape at Christmas and we are right up there. I don’t see why we can’t push for the play-offs.
‘We’ve got games in hand on some of the teams around us and if we get on a good run, we’ve shown we can compete with the best teams in the division.’
He added: ‘We’ve had a couple of dodgy results so we knew only a win would do against Havant.
‘I thought we were unlucky on Boxing Day at their place but we were punished for some defensive errors.
‘Then we dropped another two points against Concord but it was vital to get the win to get us going again.’
The Hawks, meanwhile, were not at their best at Privett Park but wins over Bishop’s Stortford and Borough on Boxing Day have kept them in the play-off hunt with a profitable Christmas period.
Lee Bradbury’s side host struggling Hayes & Yeading United at Westleigh Park tomorrow (3pm).
And they could move back into the top five if results go their way.
Bradbury said: ‘I’m pleased we have a game coming so quickly because it gives us a chance to bounce back.
‘I am relatively pleased with the Christmas results but it is important to pick up another win.’