Borough eyes have to stay on prize

Sammy Igoe, right, will not feature for Gosport tonight.  Picture  Ian Hargreaves  (132479-5)
Sammy Igoe, right, will not feature for Gosport tonight. Picture Ian Hargreaves (132479-5)
Dave Carter

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ALEX PIKE called on his men to maintain their focus ahead of tonight’s delayed FA Trophy semi-final showdown.

But his Gosport Borough side will have to down Hawks and make it to Wembley without skipper Jamie Brown.

Brown has suffered Trophy heartache after Saturday’s postponed clash.

The midfielder was due to return for next weekend’s second leg.

But Borough’s scheduled midweek meeting with Maidenhead will not take place.

That means he will serve a two-match ban across both legs, with his side missing a key influence.

It’s been a weekend of Borough’s players kicking their heels in the wake of the Westleigh Park postponement.

Most will go about their daily jobs today, despite being set to feature in a game of huge significance tonight.

Pike believes it’s about his players staying tuned into what is demanded of them in the big showdown.

He said: ‘For us it’s a double disappointment the game being called off.

‘There’s the frustration of the postponement and losing our midweek game against Maidenhead.

‘It means we are also going to lose Jamie Brown, and he will be suspended for the second leg.

‘He’s been a key player for us this season and is our club captain. He will be a big miss that’s for sure.

‘Things could be worse, though. We could have drawn Grimsby and been stuck their until Monday.

‘It’s really just a case of sitting at home and the players staying in the right mindset.

‘At our level they will have to work. That is indicative of football at this level.

‘They have been doing their own thing. But we have made sure they are prepared.’

A 1pm pitch inspection is scheduled for today to confirm whether the game will go ahead this evening.

In the event of another postponement the clash will be moved to Wednesday with the weekend return at Privett Park.

A plus of the game being called off on Saturday is the tie no longer coincides with Pompey’s game.

Pike would like to see Blues fans take in the clash.

But he’s not been placing any faith in improved weather forecasts for today.

He said: ‘I’m not looking at the weather forecast – they never get it right anyway.

‘I think the game being moved is going to harm the attendance.

‘Being during the week and not on a Saturday makes that the case.

‘People have work and are doing things during the week.

‘I think it could knock 500 to 1,000 off the gate.

‘But Hawks had a good crowd for Aldershot on the Monday, and, of course, with no Pompey game it would be good to see a few more neutrals at the match.’

Pike has found himself the focus of plenty of attention in the build-up to the Hawks clash.

The media has had their gaze on the Trophy derby meeting, with both sides enjoying their time in the spotlight.

Pike explained businesses have got behind the club, providing Borough with a much-needed financial lift.

He said: ‘We’ve enjoyed the attention.

‘We’ve had good coverage in the local media and it’s good for non-league football.

‘What we’ve found is it has raised the profile of the club.

‘That has seen more local businesses helping and backing us, and that has brought another revenue stream into the club.’

Borough have no new injury worries going into tonight’s clash with Hawks.

Danny Smith is expected to shake off a hamstring injury but Sammy Igoe is sidelined.

He said: ‘The game is going to come around too soon for Sammy.

‘He had an accident at the training ground and a couple of days isn’t going to help him.’