Alex Pike has brushed off talk of the play-offs as premature as he prepares his Gosport Borough side for tomorrow’s National League South trip to Bishop’s Stortford (3pm).
But while Pike insisted he will pay no attention to where his side sits in the table until the season nears its climax, he also refused to rule fifth-placed Borough out of the title running.
That said, if we win our game in hand we are only 12 points behind Ebbsfleet. So why can’t we win it?Gosport Borough boss Alex Pike
The Gosport manager will have to make do without vice-captain Brett Poate for up to three weeks, however, after the experienced defender picked up a calf injury in Borough’s 1-1 draw at Wealdstone on Monday night.
With young centre-half Adam Brice recalled from a loan spell at Petersfield Town and midfielder Andy Robinson comfortable slotting into the back four, Pike has options heading into tomorrow’s game.
Indeed, his additional squad depth is something the Gosport boss believes will help them in the latter part of the campaign.
Pike said: ‘I’ll look over my shoulder in mid-April, not now.
‘Historically, our results are better in the second part of the season than they are in the first half.
‘We have got off to a good start and we are in the play-off positions so it is up to us to maintain that.
‘But regardless of what other teams are doing behind us there is still a third of the season to go.
‘There are going to be lots of changes and ups and downs in that time.
‘That said, if we win our game in hand we are only 12 points behind Ebbsfleet. So why can’t we win it?
‘That is what we will always aim to do – if we can’t get first we will try and get second and third and so forth.
‘We finished sixth last year and had a real bad dip.
‘I have got a stronger squad this season and younger, hungrier players, as well as the experience of people like Ben Harding – who should be playing at a higher level
‘I think he is one of the best midfielders in the league.’
Another big player for Gosport is 32-year-old Poate and Pike admitted his impending absence is a blow – on and off the field of play.
‘Brett has injured his calf and will be out for two to three weeks I suspect, said Pike.
‘Adam Brice is back in the squad from Petersfield but he won’t necessarily go straight into the starting line-up because Andy Robinson is a more than able centre-half.
‘I will wait until I get the report back on Bishop’s Stortford and make my mind up where their threat lies and which is the best option for me to take.
‘Brett is a major influence off the park as well as on the park.
‘I rely heavily on him as one of the senior players and take a lot of advice from Brett.
‘That doesn’t mean to say he still won’t give me advice but its nice to have someone in the playing camp that you can trust and he is certainly that player.’
Meanwhile, Borough duo Sam Pearce and Perry Ryan are expected to complete 28-day loan moves to Ryman League premier division side Farnborough.