THE mood in the Gosport Borough camp is ‘vibrant’ as they bid to inflict a National League South derby double over the Hawks.
That is the view of boss Alex Pike, who is keen to record a rare victory at Westleigh Park tomorrow (3pm) and maintain his side’s impressive play-off push heading into 2016.
It is going to be a difficult game, compounded by the fact we beat them at our place. Nobody wants any team to do the double over themGosport Borough manager Alex Pike
Pike, though, has told his players the celebrations earned from last Saturday’s 2-1 win over the Hawks on home soil have been forgotten as Borough prepare for another challenging clash against Lee Bradbury’s men.
‘The local bragging rights only lasted a week and we are now at the end of the week getting our heads down and approaching the game in a professional manner,’ said Pike.
‘We had a training session Wednesday night in the pouring rain and worked on one or two things.
‘The players are looking forward to it and the mood in the camp is vibrant.
‘Lee Bradbury has spoken about his record at Privett Park but our record at Westleigh Park is equally as bad.
‘I can only ever remember getting a draw there – I can’t remember beating them.
‘It is going to be a difficult game, compounded by the fact we beat them at our place.
‘Nobody wants any team to do the double over them.
‘I am sure that will be motivation for them – and the fact it is at their place and in front of their crowd.’
Borough head into tomorrow’s derby duel in the fifth and final play-off spot, while their opponents find themselves in the relegation zone.
Pike has called on his side to build on their ‘fantastic achievement’ so far, heading into the second half of the season.
The good news for Gosport is that skipper Sam Pearce is back in light training following a long-term knee injury.
And Borough’s boss has welcomed the potential selection headache posed by the highly-rated defender’s return.
Pike said: ‘The fact we have got ourselves into fifth place and can go second if we win our game in hand is a fantastic achievement for a club like us.
‘Play-offs is what we set out to do.
‘The second half of the season is the business end and the hardest end and we know that and are getting prepared.
‘It was nice to see Sam Pearce coming back doing some light jogging this week.
‘People forget I rated him as the best centre-half in the league last year and we haven’t had him all season.
‘He hasn’t kicked a ball for us – a bit like Ed Harris at Havant.
‘But you have to make sure you cover those injuries – and we are getting players back all the time.
‘That’s the reason I had to release Rowan Vine and I may have to release another couple of players, because the squad is big and there is no point having people sat in the stand.’