AFC Portchester targeting new signings after ex-Alresford group all depart

Marty Wallace is targeting some new signings in a bid to boost AFC Portchester’s squad depth.

Thursday, 17th December 2020, 12:27 pm
Midfielder Josh Hanratty, right, has left Portchester to sign for Wimborne Town. Pic: Martyn White.

Former boss Mick Catlin brought in a raft of new faces in the close season - including five who helped Alresford top the Wessex Premier in 2019/20.

But ex-Gosport winger Mike Gosney never played a game and the other four - Liam Hibberd, Joe Chamberlain, Luke Dempsey and Craig Harding - have left.

Catlin released Hibberd and Chamberlain prior to his sacking, while Dempsey and Harding decided to leave not long after.

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‘They seem to come as a package,’ interim boss Wallace deadpanned, revealing most of the ex-Alresford contingent’ have now joined Wessex Division 1 club Andover New Street.

In addition, midfielder Josh Hanratty has jumped two divisions to sign for Wimborne Town and London-based winger Toby Adekunle is not being considered at present for travel reasons.

Byron Mason - brother of Royals midfielder Barry - recently dual signed from Southern Leaguers Sholing. But he is assistant manager at the Boatmen so his availability will be restricted.

‘We’re working on bringing in a few new players,’ said Wallace ahead of this weekend’s Wessex trip to Tadley Calleva.

Wallace’s main signing so far has been ex-Fareham and US Portsmouth forward Callum Laycock, who grabbed his first goal on his third appearance against Baffins on Tuesday.

‘He’s been fantastic for us,’ said the manager. ‘He holds the ball up well and the goal he scored on Tuesday was exactly what a centre forward should be doing.’

Laycock got in front of his marker to head in a Mason cross from close range.

Defender Ellis Martin serves a one-game ban at Tadley for his red card against Hamworthy last weekend.