Gosport Borough will have to tackle one of their toughest assignments of the season without veteran striker Steve Claridge at Bideford tonight (7.45pm).
Claridge, who scored the winner against Thatcham on Saturday, has work commitments to fulfil as Borough make the long trek to north Devon to take on the Southern League division one south & west league leaders.
Gosport moved up to fourth in the league table after Claridge’s weekend heroics after he came on as a second-half substitute. The ex-Pompey striker’s experience in front of goal will be a huge miss.
‘It’s a pity Steve Claridge isn’t available because his experience could have been invaluable in this tough game,’ said Borough assistant manager Mick Catlin.
‘But we have known about Steve’s media commitments and just have to make the most of him when he is available.
‘He showed against Thatcham that he is very effective in front of goal.
‘We have shown our ability to edge tight games recently and this is bound to be another close one.
‘Bideford are a very good side, particularly on their own patch.
‘We have kept three consecutive clean sheets, though, and will go there determined to get another.
‘If we can keep the door shut at the back, then we possess the quality of players to score at the other end.’
Another big miss is likely to be experienced defender Aaron Cook, who is still suffering from ligament problems, but Borough welcome back Lee Molyneux following a one-match suspension.
Central-midfielder Nathan Kirby is also back in the reckoning after missing the weekend win.
‘It’s a long midweek journey which doesn’t make it any easier,’ added Catlin.
‘We are level on points with third-placed Sholing and have the incentive of knowing we could move up further with the right result.
‘The important thing is to maintain our momentum in the final months of the season to make sure we end up where we want to be.’