GOSPORT BOROUGH are ready to slug it out with Sutton United as the stakes rise in their play-off battle.
Borough are expecting a ‘blood and thunder’ battle tomorrow at Privett Park as their promotion rivals come to town in the National League South.
Alex Pike’s side are looking to cement a top-five slot over the final eight games of the campaign.
And that means bouncing back from two league defeats on the spin against the U’s.
It’s a clash which has whetted the appetite of the Borough players, who are looking to settle the score for defeat at Gander Green Lane.
They went down to a 1-0 loss in September after missing two penalties.
Now assistant manager, Mick Catlin, is out for the players to right that loss and their recent form.
That could lead to a feisty encounter as the teams go toe to toe.
Catlin said: ‘Sutton are a good side in with a chance of winning the league still.
‘It’s not going to come any tougher than that.
‘It could be blood and thunder, because there’s a lot at stake.
‘They are a big, physical side who are on a good run of form who will ask questions of us.
‘They are coming full of confidence and we have to show more resilience after a few bad results.
‘We certainly need to tighten up at the back if we are to get anything from the game.
‘We’re quite a physical side ourselves.
‘If teams want to come and mix it we are quite capable of that.
‘If sides want to try to pass us off the pitch we can match that as well.
‘Over the season we’ve looked a decent side.
‘Gone are the days when you come to Gosport and get an easy game.
‘Teams are well prepared and know what to expect.
‘Sutton would have done their homework and it has the makings of a cracker.’
Despite a 90th-minute goal sending them to defeat against Concord Rangers last weekend, Catlin insisted Borough have to continue with an all-or-nothing philosophy against Sutton.
He said: ‘We’ve got a tough run-in and need to get back to winning ways.
‘We’re coming into a period where there’s no room for error. Playing for draws isn’t any good to us.
‘Last week against Concord we could have settled for a point after equalising.
‘But we were in the ascendancy, thought we could win the game and got caught at the death.
‘You have to try to win the games and that can backfire – but we have to go for it.’
Gosport have no new injury worries for the clash, but will be expected to name a host of academy players on the bench.
That’s after Lee Wort, Andy Robinson and George Barker left the club last week after serving 14 day notices to terminate their contracts.
Gosport remain under transfer embargo with existing players still owed wages by the club.