Claridge targets success with Boro

Steve Claridge in his playing days with Pompey
Steve Claridge in his playing days with Pompey
Hawks striker Jason Prior celebrates hitting the target for the first time since November. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (181103-1)

Bradbury: My Hawks won’t be bullied

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Steve Claridge has set his sights on terrorising Southern League defences – at the age of 45.

Gosport have pulled off a coup to tempt the former Pompey hitman to link up with Alex Pike’s side.

Claridge will go straight into Boro’s team for today’s FA Trophy clash with Sholing at Privett Park.

The striker has not kicked a ball since playing a single game for Weymouth two years ago.

A change in work commitments for the BBC has paved the way for him to return to the game in a player/coach role, though.

And Claridge is confident age will not be a barrier to his success.

He said: ‘I was going to train with a couple of pro clubs.

‘But they’ve brought the Football League Show filming forward so I can’t go all over the country.

‘So I spoke to Alex and that paved the way to join Gosport. I’ve trained with them and it was a quality session – league standard.

‘Age has never been a barrier to me.

‘I gave up to work on television. It wasn’t a case of I wasn’t wanted or couldn’t play. Now things have changed, it’s worked out.

‘Gosport have been really good with the way they’ve approached things.

‘I’ve been very impressed. Hopefully, I can play a part in Gosport having a good year.’

Claridge explained not being involved with the game had driven him to distraction, with the fire to play still burning bright.

He said: ‘I’ll need to get my sharpness but that will come.

‘I’ll play games and get better and better. I’m looking forward to it. I was going stir crazy watching football!

‘You should never give up until you’ve got to – and this fits.’