Borough keep the focus

Justin Bennett
Justin Bennett
  • Gosport aiming for sixth-place finish
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ALEX PIKE has warned his Gosport Borough players that they still have plenty to play for ahead of their final league game of the season.

Borough host newly-crowned champions Bromley at Privett Park tomorrow (3pm) knowing that their play-off dreams are already finished after last weekend’s results elsewhere.

Some are still playing to earn a contract for next season and all are playing for their places in the Hampshire Senior Cup final

Alex Pike

Although Borough earned a 3-0 win at the Ravens early in the season, the Kent-based outfit claimed the Vanarama Conference South title last week.

While it appears to have all the makings of an end-of-season game with little at stake, Pike insists there is plenty to play for.

He said: ‘There is still plenty at stake for my players.

‘Some are still playing to earn a contract for next season and all are playing for their places in the Hampshire Senior Cup final being played at Fratton Park (May 5).

‘I have instilled in my players that I want to go out to win every game regardless of where we are in the league.

‘Sholing in the cup final will be tough, so it is important that we go into that game with a bit of momentum behind us.

‘But completing a league double over the champions will provide a huge confidence boost.’

While Bromley are presumably still in celebration mode, they will arrive on the south coast feeling they have a score to settle against Pike’s team.

Justin Bennett, Adam Wilde and Matt Paterson struck the goals in the reverse fixture back in September and the visitors will undoubtedly be keen to put the record straight.

But Bennett has his own motivation as he could yet claim the golden boot as the leading goalscorer in the division. He is currently joint top of the the standings with 24 league goals – alongside Boreham Wood’s Lee Angol.

While Pike is still disappointed about missing out on the play-offs, he is demanding a win that will see Gosport finish sixth.

And that is no mean achievement with the hosts still only their second season at this level.

But Borough have performed better against the top sides so far this term.

‘Our win at Bromley showed early doors what we could achieve,’ said Pike.

‘It was against the likes of Chelmsford, Hemel Hempstead and Eastbourne that we slipped up.

‘That is an area we will need to improve in the future.

‘We have improved year on year in the 10 seasons I have been with the club and will look to keep that going next season.’

Pike is looking to retain the nucleus of his current squad and add a few new faces during the summer.

He believes he only needs to tinker with his squad and doesn’t require wholesale changes.

‘We have one of the best defensive records in the league and two of the most prolific goalscorers,’ said Pike.

‘That also doesn’t happen if the engine room in midfield isn’t strong.

‘Luckily, I have most of my players tied into two-year contracts with options.

‘We have a few players leaving and will need to replace them.

‘I have three or four targets in mind.’

Andy Forbes is retiring, Robbie Matthews is leaving and Paco Saez is returning to Spain.

Pike has a full-strength squad to select from for their final league game.

GOSPORT BOROUGH: Ashmore, Forbes, Pearce, Poate, Williams, Carter, Robinson, Smith, Dunford, Wooden, Ramsey, Bennett, Paterson, Wort, Saez, Benham, Matthews.