Sam Pearce praised Gosport Borough’s defensive solidity and admitted: We want to be the meanest in the league.
The Borough skipper has been an integral part of the Vanarama Conference South’s tightest defensive unit heading into tomorrow’s game at table-toppers Boreham Wood – with the Privett Park club conceding just eight goals from their 13 previous matches.
Alex Pike’s side are in seventh place but have three games in hand on the leaders and would go top of the pile with wins in each of them.
But Pearce has set out the defensive ambition for the club over the course of the campaign.
He said: ‘Our aim this season is to have the best defensive record in the league.
‘If you want to be successful then you have to keep clean sheets and not concede a lot of goals. That is what we are paid to do – that is our job.
‘Strikers love scoring and defenders love keeping clean sheets.
‘The first thing I look at in the table is how many goals we have conceded and who compares with us.’
And it’s not just keeping them out at one end, with Borough boasting the league’s leading marksman in Justin Bennett (13) in his prolific partnership with Matt Paterson (seven).
That has led to a friendly rivalry within the camp.
Pearce, who scored twice in the 3-1 win at Bath on Tuesday night, explained: ‘If we can continue to keep clean sheets then it gives Benno (Bennett), Pato (Paterson) and the midfield boys the chance to go and win us games.
‘At the moment they are doing that.
‘If we draw 0-0, we will give them a bit of banter and if we draw 1-1 or lose, then they will us a bit of stick.
‘But I think that is what drives us forward – it’s all healthy.’
With six league clean sheets between them heading into the trip to Meadow Park, Pearce’s own central-defensive partnership with Brett Poate has been a key element.
‘Myself and Brett enjoy playing with each other and know each other’s games really well. I think it’s a good partnership,’ said Pearce.
‘Even last season we had the seventh best defensive record in the league, which I think, bearing in mind the amount of games we had to catch up and the fact we as a unit were playing in the league for the first time, showed our potential.’
Borough’s impressive start also means boss Pike has kept faith with a settled side.
Pearce added: ‘As a unit it is good when it is settled but it’s hard for the guys who are not in the side.
‘The boss must have people knocking on his door, but then that drives the starting XI on.’
Pearce is refusing to get carried away with any thoughts of promotion, though.
He said: ‘We have got our feet firmly on the ground.
‘We want to get to 50 points as quickly as possible – that means we’ve got another season in this league.
‘Then we can see where it takes us.’
GOSPORT: (from) Ashmore, Forbes, Pearce, Poate, Williams, Carter, Smith, Wooden, Ramsey, Bennett, Paterson, Molyneaux, Gerring, Mason, Dunford, Wort, Wilde, Matthews, Woodward, Gosney.