Borough boss already eyeing a three-peat

Gosport boss Alex Pike, right, joins in the Gosport promotion party at Hemel Hempstead   Picture: Paul Paxford/PitchSide Photo
Gosport boss Alex Pike, right, joins in the Gosport promotion party at Hemel Hempstead Picture: Paul Paxford/PitchSide Photo
Hawks striker Jason Prior celebrates hitting the target for the first time since November. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (181103-1)

Bradbury: My Hawks won’t be bullied

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Gosport Borough have only just been promoted – but Alex Pike is already setting his sights on taking Blue Square Bet South by storm next season.

And despite the Privett Park club’s meteoric rise in recent years – which has seen them achieve two promotions on the trot via the play-offs – the Gosport manager feels his men can move on up yet again.

Borough moved into the sixth tier of English football on bank holiday Monday when they edged Hemel Hempstead on penalties in the Southern League premier division play-offs.

It means they will be rubbing shoulders with the likes of the Hawks and Eastleigh next term.

But while many feel staying up will be a success for Gosport, Pike is casting an eye on the play-offs once more.

He said: ‘We are not going in there just to make the numbers up.

‘Some might think that finishing one place above the relegation zone will be a success for us.

‘I am not that sort of manager.

‘We have got a terrific momentum going over the past two years and I don’t see why we can’t keep it going.

‘I am aiming for the play-offs again.’

Pike added: ‘My squad contains a mixture of young and experienced players.

‘The youngsters will be hungry and the experienced players who have been released by Conference South sides will want to prove a point.

‘I have spoken to my chairman and vice chairman and I believe they will give me the tools to do the job.

‘Of the present squad we will be taking our options up on eight contracted players and looking to put three others on to contract.

‘We would also like to add three or four targets to strengthen the squad during the summer.

‘What we have achieved has been done on a shoe-string budget and we won’t make the mistake of breaking the bank chasing success.’

Gosport will be playing at the highest level of football in their 69-year history next season and it promises to be a massive challenge.

Two of the three sides promoted last season from the feeder leagues, AFC Hornchurch and Billericay Town, have gone straight back down this term.

Blue Square Bet South is a tough, unforgiving league at times and will provide Pike and his players with a supreme test.

But Borough have shown over the past two seasons that they are battlers who refuse to give up, even when the odds are stacked against them.

Pike added: ‘We are going to come up against full-time managers and players.

‘I know that everything we do at the club will need to be ramped up.

‘To a certain degree we have winged it for the past couple of years but now we will need to be a lot more professional in our approach.’

Gosport will parade their play-off winners’ trophy at Privett Park tomorrow night when they host Lymington Town in the Russell-Cotes Cup final (7.45pm).

‘It will be a chance for us to thank the fans for their tremendous support all season,’ said Pike.