Chairman offers Pike backing

New Gosport Borough defender Matt Butcher in action for AFC Bournemouth's youth team Picture: Sally Adams
New Gosport Borough defender Matt Butcher in action for AFC Bournemouth's youth team Picture: Sally Adams
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MARK HOOK insisted he has no issue with Alex Pike applying to become the next Aldershot manager.

The Gosport Borough chairman has seen his long-serving manager send in his CV for the Vanarama Conference Premier side’s vacant top job and would not stand in his way if the job was offered to him.

As yet, Pike has yet to attend an interview, but it appears he will be on a final six-man shortlist.

And while Hook does not want him to leave, and insists he does not have a contingency plan in place, he believes Pike would be a successful appointment.

‘Alex is a very successful manager and very ambitious. I don’t blame him for applying at all. Of course, I would love him to stay but I wish him every success,’ said Hook.

‘I think he would be a brilliant Football League manager and he deserves a chance. We are the best of friends and I would not stand in his way.’

Asked about potential successors if the Gosport job became available, Hook replied: ‘To be perfectly honest, I am not the type of person who lives in a what if scenario.

‘If it happens, I would take my time and reflect on what we need to do.

‘I would also ask Alex’s advice.’

Pike stated nothing has changed since he sent away his CV and has finally brought in a centre-back after recruiting Matt Butcher from AFC Bournemouth.

The young prospect is expected to go straight into the side for tomorrow’s Vanarama Conference South trip to Hemel Hempstead – the scene of the club’s famous penalty shootout victory to secure their promotion two years ago.

Pike knew he had to act, with Brett Poate sidelined for at least a fortnight with a recurrence of a calf problem.

And the Borough boss could also have a second new defensive recruit if discussions with Dorchester’s Chris Dillon go as planned today.

But Pike believes he has found an ideal addition, having watched Butcher in Bournemouth’s reserve clash with Pompey earlier this week.

‘Everyone I have spoken to believes this lad will go on to have a good professional career,’ said Pike.

‘He’s 6ft 3in and he’s an absolute man mountain.

‘He bucks the trend of Academy players in that he likes a tackle – you don’t see that too much these days.

‘Young players need to be able to fit into what we need at our level of football.

‘Myself and Mick Catlin went along to the reserve game and we both agreed that he is someone we would like to take and we’re delighted to get him.

‘He’s a young player but he is well capable of doing well for us.’

Former Eastleigh man Dillon could also be in the ranks for this weekend, but Pike has called off his move for another Dorchester man, Nathan Walker.

‘Even though I had an agreement in place to sign him for nothing, Dorchester have now refused to sell him,’ said Pike.

‘It doesn’t make much sense but I will revisit that at the end of the season.’

Sixth-placed Borough could climb back into the play-off places with a victory.

Pike added: ‘We’ve got good memories of Hemel Hempstead after what happened there two seasons ago and it’s an important game as they are just below us in the table.’

GOSPORT: (from) Ashmore, Forbes, Pearce, Butcher, Williams, Dunford, Smith, Robinson, Wooden, Paterson, Bennett, Molyneaux, Wilde, Ramsey, Saez, Matthews, Wort, Benham.