Nathan Ashmore will be given the chance to reclaim his position as Gosport Borough’s No1 in tonight’s derby clash with Fareham Town (Privett Park, 7.45pm).
The Borough keeper has missed the past three games after boss Alex Pike dropped him following the club’s seven-match winless start to their Skrill South campaign.
But ahead of their Hampshire Senior Cup showdown with Wessex premier neighbours Fareham, Pike has decided to replace Gareth Barfoot and bring back the talented 22-year-old.
Pike said: ‘Nathan will be back between the sticks for this one.
‘I think it was the right time to take him out when I did, but he’s been out for three games now.
‘We won the first one 2-0 and kept a clean sheet but then we got knocked out of the FA Cup and we were comprehensively beaten at the weekend.
‘I’m not blaming the keepers but I have got a squad and I have to manage that squad.
‘Nathan took it on the chin, he worked hard and has waited for his chance. Now it’s up to him.’
Fareham boss Matt Parr admitted he’s tempted to stick with a team that is bang in form after five straight wins, especially after a 6-0 demolition of Downton at the weekend.
He said: ‘We’re in really good form and want to keep the run going.
‘We know the quality Gosport have but we will give it a good crack because this is a game our fans have been looking forward to for quite a while.
‘It’s very tempting to just keep picking the same side.
‘If we had easier opposition coming up in the next few weeks, I probably would have kept the same side.
‘But we’ve got some of the top teams in our league coming up in the next few games.
‘I still think the team we will put out will be strong enough to compete. There is not a great deal of difference in quality between all of the players I’ve got in the squad.’
While the competition is not quite what it was between the sides, both managers are keen to get the upper hand.
Pike said: ‘I think the rivalry is still there. It’s always been a friendly rivalry but we haven’t played them in a competitive game since 2007, when we beat them 3-0.
‘This game gives me a chance to try one or two things and have a look at a couple of different players.
‘But we will be putting a full-strength side out and there will be no excuses.’
Parr added: ‘Gosport have always been helpful to me in my time at Fareham but we still want to beat them.
‘The rivalry fizzled out a bit because there’s such a big gap between the clubs.
‘I used to go and watch it myself when there was a fierce rivalry back in the day.’
Meanwhile, Gosport’s Skrill South home clash with Sutton United, scheduled for next Tuesday, has been put back 24 hours to the Wednesday (7.45pm).