Borough to do battle up North

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Gosport Borough are prepared for another battle as they head to Humberside to face North Ferriby United in the FA Trophy quarter-finals (3pm).

The Hull-based hosts are top of Skrill North and will start as firm favourites against their South counterparts.

The underdogs tag, though, won’t worry Borough who can take confidence from their progress so far in the competition.

Alex Pike’s side have already shown they are capable of pulling off an upset by knocking out Skrill Premier high-fliers Nuneaton Town earlier in the competition.

After being held to a goalless draw at Privett Park, few gave the Skrill South strugglers much of a chance in the replay.

Against all odds, though, Borough forced another 0-0 draw after extra-time before keeping their nerve to win a penalty shootout.

Pike will stress that going to North Ferriby can be no more difficult than that.

‘We are looking forward to the whole weekend,’ said the boss.

‘To get to the quarter-finals of a national competition is no mean feat and we aim to make the most of it.

‘We are travelling up today and will train at Derby County on the way before having an evening meal at the hotel.

‘There is an increasing belief and confidence in the squad that we are learning how to win more games.

‘We know that we are capable of competing and upsetting opponents.

‘There is a lot of experience in our team and we possess players with the temperament to cope with games like this.

‘At this time of year the pitches are heavy and you need to grind out results.

‘It takes a certain kind of player and we have those.

‘There is a dogged determination in our squad to get a result.’

Pike knows it won’t be easy against hosts who are well on course to win promotion.

The home side possess a potent strike force that will test Borough’s defensive qualities to the full.

On the other hand, Borough are yet to concede a goal in this year’s competition and won’t give that record up easily.

‘They (North Ferriby) have three very good strikers and keeping another clean sheet won’t be easy,’ said Pike

‘We can expect a severe test but I have every confidence we have the players to stand up to it.

‘Earlier in the season we were leaking goals because of silly mistakes but we have changed our mindset since then.’

New loan striker Jonte Smith is cup-tied, while Justin Bennett has gone on a month’s loan to Poole Town.

Pike drafts goalkeeper Gareth Barfoot into the squad as cover for Nathan Ashmore.

Hawks midfielder Steve Ramsey is expected to join on a month’s loan after the weekend.

Pike added: ‘This is a big game for the club and we are very focused on the football.’

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