Pike keen to address FA Cup gap

Adam Wilde played at the top of a diamond formation in midfield for Gosport Borough's win at Bromley last weekend
Adam Wilde played at the top of a diamond formation in midfield for Gosport Borough's win at Bromley last weekend
Hawks boss Lee Bradbury. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Hawks boss shrugs off setback in Cornwall

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Alex Pike is determined to address the gap in his managerial CV ahead of the start of the his latest FA Cup campaign.

The Gosport Borough boss has never made it to the first-round proper of the famous competition, despite leading the club to several promotions and the FA Trophy final at Wembley last term.

And it clearly still rankles with Pike, whose side travel to Bath-based Southern League outfit Larkhall Athletic tomorrow (3pm), who ply their trade two divisions below Borough.

‘The best run I’ve had was to get to the fourth qualifying round,’ said Pike.

‘I want to get to the first round and finally have a good FA Cup run. It’s long overdue.

‘I’ve never got to the first round proper but we’ve seen that teams at our level can go a long way into the competition. Why shouldn’t it be us this time?

‘I think it would be more prestigious to get to the FA Cup third round than it was to get to the FA Trophy final. It’s possible and we have to believe we can do it.

‘You need a bit of luck with the draw and you need the rub of the green along the way.

‘Two years ago we were drawn away at Slough and drew 0-0.

‘We brought that back to Privett Park and were 1-0 up at half-time, but then lost 2-1.

‘They went on to draw Mansfield in the first round, and you look back thinking “It should have been us”.

‘It would have been a great chance to progress.

‘But if we play like we did against Bromley last weekend, we shouldn’t fear anybody.’

That comprehensive 3-0 success lifted Borough to 11th place in the Vanarama Conference South table as they extended their impressive unbeaten record on the road to four games this season.

Pike said: ‘I’m glad it’s away from home. Our away form is impeccable.

‘I think we are top of the form table away from home. We haven’t even conceded a goal on the road yet.

‘We played the diamond in midfield last week for the first time but the players bought into it and it worked well.

‘We had Danny Smith at the base, Mike Carter and Tom Dunford in the middle with Adam Wilde at the point.

‘Adam scored a goal, had one kicked off the line and he was a thorn in Bromley’s side for the whole game.

‘He hasn’t got the legs any more so I created the role for him. I either played him in the hole or put him in my walking football team!’

Pike also insisted he would not be looking to rotate his squad, even though his men will be clear favourites to progress.

He added: ‘We are three wins away from the first round.

‘I will be putting out my strongest team. This is too important to the club.

‘There is £4,500 up for grabs just for winning this game.’

Brett Poate starts a three-match suspension but Robbie Matthews (calf) and Ben Gerring (knee) are close to returns.

GOSPORT BOROUGH: (from) Ashmore, Forbes, Molyneaux, Williams, Carter, Pearce, Dunford, Smith, Paterson, Bennett, Wilde, Wort, Saez, Ramsey, Woodward, Matthews, Gerring.