Alex Pike has dismissed suggestions that Gosport Borough have blown their chance at FA Cup progress.
Borough face a replay with Vanarama Conference South rivals Whitehawk at Privett Park tonight (7.45pm) after conceding an equaliser with virtually the last kick of the game in a 2-2 draw at the weekend.
The two clubs will now battle it out for the right to host Southern Premier outfit Poole Town, with the tie going to extra-time and penalties if required.
While the Borough boss felt his side were massive underdogs before the first tie, he believes their chances have improved for the replay.
But while some underdogs get just one opportunity for an upset, Pike is optimistic his men can secure a place in the final qualifying round.
He said: ‘I was really pleased with the way we got ourselves back into the game on Saturday after going behind.
‘So I was a bit gutted when they scored in the 93rd minute. When you concede an equaliser that late, it always feels like a loss.
‘But the bonus is that we are still in the competition and we’ve got another opportunity.
‘Whitehawk are such a good side with so many ex-professionals.
‘They had three or four on the bench, and the fact that we have never beaten them shows the enormity of the task.
‘I’m hoping the tide will turn in our favour.
‘We are both in the same league and it’s normally a team from a lower level that gets that one shot at it.
‘Whitehawk are third in the table and we’re sixth – so we know all about each other.
‘We are still underdogs to a certain extent.
‘They got to the play-offs last season and in six attempts we have never beaten them.
‘But maybe it’s shifted a little bit because we’re at home and they have got to travel in midweek.
‘It’s down to who performs on the night.’
Pike will be forced into at least one change from the team that played at the weekend, with Lee Wort ruled out because of a back problem.
But his replacement, George Barker, scored one and made one for Justin Bennett on Saturday.
That hasn’t stopped Pike looking for a new striker, with his pursuit of Matt Paterson still ongoing.
Pike added: ‘Worty has got a back injury so he won’t be fit.
‘But we’re still on the lookout for a striker.
‘I’ve got a few irons in the fire at the moment and I’m considering my options.’
– STEVE WILSON