Gosport’s knockout credentials will be put to the test tomorrow.
Borough host Ryman South visitors Godalming Town in the second qualifying round of the FA Trophy at Privett Park (3pm).
After an early exit from the FA Cup, Alex Pike’s men have beaten Slough and Sholing in the Trophy to prove they are no longer a soft touch in cup games.
Steve Claridge fired in the winner against Sholing in the last round.
And the 45-year-old will be key to Borough’s hopes of beating Godalming, who have been the subject of our Road To Wembley feature in recent weeks.
‘This is a massive game for us,’ said assistant boss Mick Catlin.
‘The financial rewards are substantial and in the next round there will be a chance to get drawn against some of the bigger non-league sides.
‘We feel we have made up for our FA Cup disappointment and regained our confidence.
‘Beating Slough and Sholing has returned our belief in our ability to win one-off cup games.
‘We know a bit about Godalming – I watched them against our FA Cup conquerors Moneyfields.
‘They outmuscled the youngsters of Moneyfields and did a professional job.
‘It will be a tough test for us because they will be looking to bounce back after their 5-0 FA Cup hammering by Maidenhead United last week.’
Borough have picked up recently in the league.
But they suffered a disappointing 3-2 exit after extra-time in the Red Insure Southern League Cup at AFC Totton in midweek.
The arrival of experienced Football League campaigner Claridge has given them a boost – scoring in both his games to date.
‘Steve has done well for us and is gradually getting his match fitness and sharpness back,’ said Catlin.
‘What players of his calibre don’t lose is their quality.
‘If we give him the chance inside the area he still possesses ability and calmness to produce the finish.’
Gosport’s defensive record is strong and for the past two seasons they have been difficult to beat at Privett Park.
Competition for places up front is keen, with James Taylor and Liam Sewell back in the reckoning, while Ian Jones and George Way are fighting for a midfield slot.
Midfielder James Ford is on holiday and his absence is a blow, while Brett Poate is an injury doubt.
Gosport Borough: Ashmore, Jones G, Molyneux, Cook, Poate, Wooden, Kirby, Way, Jones I, Wilde, Claridge, Bennett, Sewell, Taylor, Price, Norton