Gosport ‘underdogs’ for Bristol Manor Farm Trophy tie

Keeper Tom Price has joined Gosport Borough from Horndean. Picture: Neil Marshall (171151-45)
Keeper Tom Price has joined Gosport Borough from Horndean. Picture: Neil Marshall (171151-45)
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GOSPORT BOROUGH take a welcome break from league pressures to host Bristol Manor Farm in the FA Trophy at Privett Park tomorrow (3pm).

Mick Catlin has endured a tough baptism as Borough manager and is still looking for his first win in charge as they continue to struggle in the Southern League.

Even though the visitors play in the league below Catlin insists his team will start the tie as the underdogs.

They don’t have the forward momentum Bristol Manor Farm bring to the table.

‘Our opponents will look at our record and fancy their chances,’ said Catlin.

‘They are doing well in their league after being promoted the season before so they have got a good momentum going.

‘We have to make sure we go into the tie with the belief we can win it.

‘I don’t care what competition it is I just want a win.

‘We are at home and the players do feel a little more comfortable playing in front of their own fans.

‘I have managed to make some changes to my squad though it isn’t easy with the transfer embargo remaining in place.’

Borough slipped to their 14th defeat in 15 league games at Slough Town in midweek.

Caitlin, however, was able to take some positives from the 5-1 reverse against the league leaders.

During the difficult times one ray of sunshine has been the performances from striker Iffy Onwuachu.

Playing a lone attacking role in a losing team isn’t easy but the youngster has grabbed his chances.

‘His strike-rate to chances ratio has to be up there with the best of them,’ said Catlin.

‘He gives us a physical presence but he has a tough job because he doesn’t see a lot of the ball.’

Catlin has acted to solve the problem by bringing in another youngster Liam Mears who has been playing at Totton & Eling.

The ex-Borough Academy player is expected to make his debut in the FA Trophy.

‘Hopefully having someone playing alongside Iffy will increase our firepower,’ said Catlin.

‘It is a long shot because he hasn’t played at this level before.

‘He is one we had marked out for the future when he was at our academy.’

Catlin has also gone for more experience in goal by bringing in 27-year-old Tom Price from Horndean.

Lewis Watch pulled off a series of good saves at Slough but his inexperience has shown at times.

At Slough ex-Pompey graduate Eddie Wakeley was another to offer encouragement in difficult circumstances.

He produced some dogged defending at times despite being a little rusty due to limited appearances at Whitehawk this season.

‘With a bit more match fitness I think he will be a good asset,’ said Catlin.

Borough are also boosted by the return of experienced defender Luke King after he was unavailable in midweek.