Pike happy with Gosport recruitment strategy

Rory Williams. Picture: Paul Jacobs
Rory Williams. Picture: Paul Jacobs
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Alex Pike is convinced he has developed the right strategy as his Gosport Borough side prepare to host Whitehawk tonight (7.45pm).

The Sussex club have tempted several ex-professionals to the club as they chase promotion from National League South, with former Crawley midfielder Sergio Torres and ex-Brighton striker Jake Robinson among those with Football League experience in their ranks.

While Pike brought in experienced former Torquay midfielder Ben Harding over the summer, he also delved into the lower leagues again to recruit TJ Cuthbertson from Sholing to continue with his philosophy of targeting hungry players on their way up.

And he has offered an opportunity to younger players who have been released by professional clubs in the shape of George Barker.

But even if he had a larger budget at his disposal, Pike insists he would not change his ways.

He said: ‘I had Whitehawk watched at the weekend and they have gone out and signed three or four ex-pros.

‘I don’t necessarily think that’s the right route to go down, unless you hand-pick the right ones and know that player inside out.

‘Some of these players have been there and done it and have nothing to prove to anyone and some are looking for a final pay-day.

‘We changed the blueprint of how we wanted to go about it two years ago.

‘We’ve gone for young, hungry players that have a point to prove.

‘If you can harness that in the right way, it can make a real difference.

‘The Maidenhead directors were talking about my full-backs at the weekend – TJ Cuthbertson and Rory Williams – and saying they were the best they’d seen over the past couple of years.

‘Both of them came from the Wessex League and the directors were saying it’s brilliant how we could go to the lower level and do that.

‘But I believe it’s a case that I have to do that.

‘I don’t have the budget to go out there and pick up a load of ex-pros.

‘It doesn’t come easy. You have to put the miles in and see a lot of games.

‘But even if I had an unlimited budget, I don’t think I would change the way we go about it.

‘I get a lot of pleasure out of giving people like TJ and Mike Carter a chance to prove themselves.

‘Those players are out there if you put in the ground work and look for them.

‘I’m happy to give them that opportunity.’

While Pike is satisfied with his side’s start to the season with two draws and one win from their opening three games, he is looking for another victory after their 0-0 draw at Maidenhead.

He said: ‘If we can get the right result, it would be a good start to the season.

‘Nobody can really moan about two wins and two draws from our first four games.

‘But Whitehawk did the double over us last season.’

Skipper Sam Pearce is still out for at least another six weeks with a knee problem, while midfielder Andy Robinson is at St George’s Park for treatment on his ankle injury.

GOSPORT: (from) Ashmore, Cuthbertson, Woodford, Poate, Williams, Carter, Dunford, Harding, Barker, Wort, Bennett, Walker, Wooden, White, Wilde, Ryan, Ramsey.