Pike delighted to capture Forbes for Gosport

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Alex Pike believes new Gosport Borough recruit Andy Forbes should have played in the Football League.

Striker-turned-defender Forbes struck a staggering 88 goals in one season for Andover back in the 1999-00 campaign, bringing him to the attention of a host of league clubs.

But a move to the professional ranks failed to materialise as he moved on to Eastleigh, Woking and Sutton United, before returning to Eastleigh last season.

Considering his prolific goalscoring record, a switch to defence to play centre-back and full-back raised eyebrows.

But the Borough boss is delighted to have the versatile 32-year-old at Privett Park after signing a one-year deal for the Blue Square Bet South new boys.

Pike said: ‘He definitely could have made it as a pro, in my opinion.

‘But sometimes players are better off sticking with their jobs and playing part-time.

‘I’ve been an admirer of his for years – ever since I was managing in the Wessex League and he scored so many goals.

‘From my point of view, he fits the blueprint of what we are looking at.

‘He’s 32 years old, he’s played for numerous clubs in this division and he brings that experience with him.

‘But he can also play in a few positions, which is important when we are going to try to run with a small squad.

‘I’ve told him I have signed him primarily as a striker.

‘But what I like about him is that he has played in midfield, centre-back and full-back for Eastleigh.’

Pike believes Forbes will be a key man in his squad and he may ask the former Eastleigh man to reprise his role as a utility man.

The Borough boss said: ‘Every player wants to nail down a position and I understand that.

‘I have brought him in as a striker but I would have no qualms about playing him in other positions if required.

‘Players want to play. They would rather play in another position than be sitting on the bench.

‘I don’t know too many as good as him who can play in so many different positions. It’s rare but it’s most welcome.’

Pike is clearly after some experience and knowledge of a higher level of football.

And Forbes joins a Gosport side including several players over the age of 30.

But that does not worry Pike, who revealed he is also close to securing a deal for a winger.

‘People might look at the age of some of the players we are signing but to me, age is no barrier,’ said the Gosport manager.

‘Any manager that has a restriction on age is an idiot.

‘You’ve got to judge the individual.

‘People have labelled us as the Crazy Gang and we’ve got a great team spirit.

‘But I have to make sure that the players I bring in will not damage that spirit.

‘Andy brings so much to our club and I’m looking forward to working with him.

‘You get an instant feel for someone when you meet them and he has come across as a really nice bloke who knows his football inside out.

‘He will bring a lot to the party.’