Former Fareham defender Archie Wilcox ‘almost the perfect fit’ for new Gosport Borough management team

Archie Willcox, seen here in action for Fareham Town, has  joined Gosport Borough. Picture: Keith WoodlandArchie Willcox, seen here in action for Fareham Town, has  joined Gosport Borough. Picture: Keith Woodland
Archie Willcox, seen here in action for Fareham Town, has joined Gosport Borough. Picture: Keith Woodland
Archie Wilcox is ‘almost the perfect fit’ for the new-look Gosport Borough squad being pieced together by new bosses Joe Lea and Pat Suraci.

Both managers spoke of their desire to bring in locally-based talent on being appointed at Privett Park last month.

Goalscoring defender Wilcox certainly fits that bill, having impressed for Fareham Town prior to stepping up two divisions to play for Boro’s Southern League Premier South rivals Winchester City last season.

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‘We’ve spoken about how important it was that we looked at more local talent,’ Lea told The News. ‘But we don’t want to lower the quality of the squad.

‘Archie is almost the perfect fit for us. He’s young, hungry, looking to improve, and has played games at that level. He’s an ideal signing for us.

‘We see Archie as a centre half, he could play in a back three or a back four.’

Wilcox also brings with him a threat at the other end of the pitch - he scored 15 goals in 40 starts plus two as a sub for Fareham in 2021/22. Only striker Josh Benfield (16) scored more for the Reds that season.

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‘Our budget isn’t as much as others have had to work with, but that’s a good thing in a way,’ said Lea.

‘We’re looking for hungry players who want to be coached, who want to improve.

‘We’ll be playing a lot of wealthier clubs. Sholing have just come up and they’ve signed Jake Hesketh, Totton have a fantastic squad … we need to approach things with a different mentality.’

The new Boro managers have also brought two more centre halves - Zak Sharp and Charlie Wassmer - back to Privett Park.

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Both players were team-mates of Lea and Suraci during their first stint at the club, while Wassmer spent time on loan at Gosport from Hayes & Yeading last term.

Sharp was a key player for Lea and Suraci as Petersfield Town won promotion via the Wessex League Division 1 play-offs in April.

‘Zak is a no brainer,’ said Lea. ‘He’s a local lad, Gosport through and through.

‘We’re both close to Zak, Pat has been best friends with him since childhood.

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‘He was a big part of our success at Petersfield and he has more than earned the right to have another shot at this level.

‘He’s the type of person we want around the place. Centre back is his best position but he can play full-back as well.’

Wassmer, 32, was on the Boro radar when the co-bosses were told he has relocated to Hayling Island.

‘He’s proven at this level and the one above,’ said Lea. ‘He will be a leader for us in defence and in the dressing room.’

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Another new face is attacker Antonio Diaz, who ended last season at Bashley after leaving Salisbury.

The winger, 23, has also played for Weymouth, Dorchester and Wimborne. ‘He can play as a No 10 or on either wing, there’s a lot more we can unlock from him.’

Lea and Suraci aim to integrate their new signings around a core of experienced players who they inherited.

Dan Wooden, Brad Turbuck, Rory Williams, Harry Kavanagh and Harvey Rew, for example, are all staying.

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‘We obviously have a budget,’ said Lea. ‘You can see that by the people we have kept on.

‘They are all excellent players and really good people.

‘This is an unforgiving league and we will need players with their experience and physicality.

‘The players here are a lot better than their 17th placed finish last season.

‘If we had signed players like Dan Wooden and Rory Williams, people would be saying what great signings they were. But they’re already here.

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‘The fact they finished 17th and there was so much interest in those players tells you how good they are.’

Lea added: ‘I don’t want to say anything negative about the previous regime, but we need to bring an enjoyable feel back to the club.

‘The players need to enjoy their football, they need to get that back within an organised structure.

‘We need a style of play and an identity, that’s really important. But the most important thing is that the boys need to enjoy their football.’

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