ALEX PIKE has warned his Gosport Borough side the form book will go out of the window in their Boxing Day derby clash with the ‘wounded animal’ – the Hawks.
Borough head into Saturday’s National League South showdown at Privett Park (3pm) 12 points and 14 places ahead of their rivals.
I regard them as a wounded animalGosport Borough boss Alex Pike
The sixth-placed hosts are outside of the play-off places on goal difference, with Lee Bradbury’s visitors in the relegation zone.
But Pike does not believe Borough are favourites for the hotly-anticipated fixture – and has labelled his opponents’ current position ‘false’.
He said: ‘Anyone who has been involved in football for a while will tell you that the form book goes out of the window for a derby.
‘It is who wants it the most on the day and who gets that little bit of luck.
‘No-one will have expected to see Havant where they are. I think that makes it worse for us.
‘I regard them as a wounded animal and most wounded animals come out fighting.
‘When you look at the calibre of players they have got and the budget they spend, they should be higher up the table – and I envisage they will be, come the end of the season.
‘They certainly won’t be in a false position, that’s for sure.’
This weekend’s clash marks the first of two festive fixtures with the Hawks in a week – with the two sides playing the reverse game at Westleigh Park on Saturday, January 2 (3pm).
Unlike most teams in the division, though, Borough are not in action between the two derby dates, having rearranged and played their scheduled encounter with Truro last month.
Pike is hoping Borough will be fresher as a result but has not set a points target for the two games, with bragging rights to be short-lived.
He said: ‘We haven’t got a fixture in between, whereby Havant have got Bath City, which is not going to be easy.
‘Hopefully we will be fresher.
‘There’s no points target – we are just like any other club, we want to amass as many points as possible.
‘And the bragging rights are going to be very short-lived with another fixture coming around within a week.’
Pike has welcomed the friendly rivalry between the two clubs, which has spilled over on to social media in recent times.
And the Borough boss has called on fans to turn out in their numbers for two good footballing encounters.
Pike said: ‘I am sure if you monitor Twitter – and I don’t – then there will be some form of banter over the Christmas period on there. To me that is part and parcel of it.
‘I am not going to stop or try and prevent that – I think that adds a bit of spice to the two games.
‘And hopefully both clubs will get good crowds to watch the derby.
‘We are two good footballing teams and it’s nice we are competing in the same league. I just hope football is the winner at the end. ‘
Borough full-back Rory Williams (foot) is a fitness doubt ahead of the Boxing Day clash, with defensive duo Sam Pearce and Luke King (both knee) ruled out with long-term injuries.