Alex Pike hopes to have Josh Carmichael fully on board as Gosport Borough continue their National South preparations against Bognor at the Aerial Direct Stadium tomorrow (3pm).
Carmichael has been training with National League Eastleigh but the boss expects the talented attacking midfield player to commit himself to Borough for the coming season.
‘Josh is a class act and he showed what a good finisher he can be with his goal against Woking,’ said Pike.
‘He just dropped his shoulders to go past two defenders and scored with a deft chip over an experienced goalkeeper.
‘I believe, with us, he can become even fitter and more confident.
‘If he can add more goals to his game then I can see no reason why he can’t get back into the professional game.’
Pike is pleased with the way his squad is shaping up ahead of the new season, which is just over two weeks away.
In midweek he took a mixed squad of players to Southern League Frome Town and came away with a 2-1 win.
The exercise allowed a number of his development squad members to gain experience alongside their senior counterparts.
The Borough boss will revert to his first-team squad for the visit of the Rocks.
‘We have only got a few more pre-season games left and I am looking to trim the squad down to 15 players who will be involved in our opening game,’ added Pike.
‘It is time to start putting it together and to make decisions.
‘A number of places are still up for grabs.
‘Some players are ahead of others but there is still time for players to step up.’
Experienced defender Brett Poate returns from honeymoon ahead of tomorrow’s Bognor game, but fellow defender Sam Pearce is away on holiday.
Lee Bradbury takes a mixed Hawks squad to take on Wessex League premier Team Solent at Test Lane tonight (7.45pm).
He is likely to include youngster Marley Ridge, who made a big impression as a substitute against Cardiff City on Wednesday night.
Moneyfields have goalscoring legend Steve Hutchings back in the fold as they host Steve Claridge’s Salisbury City at Dover Road (3pm).
Hutchings, one of the Wessex League premier division’s most prolific goalscorers, has been enticed back to the club by manager Dave Carter.
‘Steve and I sat down, had a long chat and worked out a way to go forward,’ said Carter.
‘He has a phenomenal goalscoring record in our league and it is a major coup for us to have him back.’
The home side also have ex-Pompey midfielder Ashley Harris in their ranks.
In other friendlies AFC Portchester entertain Sussex League Arundel and Petersfield Town travel to Hamble Club.
Fareham Town are at Liss Athletic and new manager Michael Birmingham takes Horndean to Pagham.
– KEVIN RICKETTS