‘If you’ve got the right mentality and the right players, it doesn’t come down to money’ – Gosport Borough boss Shaun Gale

Gosport Borough boss Shaun Gale. Picture: Tom PhillipsGosport Borough boss Shaun Gale. Picture: Tom Phillips
Gosport Borough boss Shaun Gale. Picture: Tom Phillips
Gosport Borough's minimum requirement this season is making sure they secure a spot in the Southern League Premier South play-offs.

That's the verdict of manager Shaun Gale, who is preparing for his first full campaign in charge after the shortened 2020-21 season.

Gale took charge of just seven league fixtures last term after replacing Lee Molyneaux in charge at Privett Park last summer.

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The pandemic brought a premature end to the campaign - Gosport’s final league game was in October - and Gale’s maiden attempt at getting the club back into the National League South.

But heading into a second campaign at the helm, Gale is adamant his squad should be looking no lower than a top-five finish, which would be enough to secure a play-off place.

He insists it's irrelevant they might not be able to compete with some of the bigger budgets in the division.

Instead, Gale feels he's assembled a group who have the capability to deliver his ambitions.

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He said: ‘We’ve got to get in the play-offs for a start. There are some big-hitters in the league, I think money is irrelevant, there’s people spending a lot of money and people not so much.

‘If you’ve got the right mentality and the right players, it doesn’t come down to money.

‘We proved that at Havant when I was assistant to Bradders (Lee Bradbury), we got out the Conference South with a budget that was nowhere near what a lot of people were paying at the time.

‘You’ve got to get the right players, you also need that little bit of luck. I’ve said all along keeping my senior players fit - the likes of Rory Williams, Matt Briggs, Ryan Woodford, Matt Paterson and Mike Carter - getting them on the pitch as much as possible, along with the good young players we’ve got, it’s going to be key to how well we do this season.'

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Gale has brought in a mix of youth and experience to cover for the losses of Aaron McCreadie, goalkeeper Pat O'Flaherty (both Salisbury) and Theo Lewis (Hungerford), who left this summer.

Gale has been busy on the recruitment front, capturing former Fulham defender and one-time Premier League youngest ever player Briggs, Elliott Wheeler and Bouwe Bosma.

Harry Kavanagh also moved to Privett Park following his Pompey release, while ex-Blues striker Bradley Lethbridge (Bognor) and teenager Paul Agbeseyi (Bromley U23s) have all joined.

But Gale revealed he's still not done shaping his squad and is happy to bide his time before waiting for some promising youngsters to become available.

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He said: ‘We’ve got to get that mix because ultimately as a football club ... if I had a full team of senior players - well, we couldn’t afford to do that.

‘It’s not only that, there are some good youngsters around, you need to build for the future and you can’t just rely on the senior players, a lot of the senior players are getting older.

‘There’s still a lot of players sticking out, I still believe there are some good players out there who haven’t been signed anywhere yet.

'There’s still people out there asking for unrealistic money at the level we play - I’m sure it’s not just my level, it’s probably levels above.

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‘There are a lot of good young players still trialling at pro clubs and doing the rounds. We haven’t completed our squad and I’m still looking for a couple if the right ones come along. But I’m happy with the squad I’ve got at the moment.'

This article originally appeared in the Sports Mail 2021/22 preview special on July 31.