Pike relishing Williams-Bennett pairing

Gosport Borough striker Justin Bennett
Gosport Borough striker Justin Bennett
Steve Ramsey scored for AFC Portchester in their defeat at Amesbury Town. Picture: Keith Woodland

Bognor remain bottom after defeat

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IN-FORM Gosport Borough could have leading scorer Justin Bennett back in their squad for tonight’s Southern League premier division trip to St Alban’s City (7.45pm).

Newly-wed Bennett is available for selection after missing the past month because of his honeymoon.

And with his stand-in, Rory Williams, banging the goals in during his absence, Borough boss Alex Pike is relishing pairing the two together up front as his side continue their bid for the play-offs.

‘Southern League defences can start quaking in their boots with the thought of coming up against our two strikers,’ said Pike.

‘We knew from the start of the season that Justin was going to be away so it gave us time to plan for it.

‘Rory has been a flying success and taken over the goalscoring mantle.

‘Having both in the squad is a massive boost for everyone.

‘Justin is naturally fit and one of those players who can easily pick up where he left off.

‘His absence, plus the fact that teams have been keen to end our long unbeaten record, are two things we have had to contend with in the last few weeks.

‘The fact the team have done that so well is a credit to them.’

For Pike, the only disappointment during the current 19-game unbeaten run is Borough’s failure to break into the top five.

The Privett Park side remain one point adrift of fifth-placed Weymouth – but a win at St Albans could finally see them make the breakthrough.

Pike is delighted with the way his squad have adjusted to life in the premier division after a difficult start to the season.

After the first 11 games, Borough were second from bottom but refused to panic.

‘Luckily, I have got a great chairman who didn’t press the panic button,’ said Pike.

‘And (assistant boss) Mick Catlin and I have always had faith in our players’ ability,

‘Some of the more experienced players were dropping down a league and for the others it was a step up.

‘It took them time to adjust but now we are reaping the rewards.’

Danny Smith is the only doubt for tonight’s game after limping off with a hamstring problem at the weekend.

Jamie Brown took his place, and if Smith is unfit, that will pave the way for Bennett’s return to the squad.