Pike set to recruit Exeter defender

Gosport defender Andy Forbes has an ankle injury
Gosport defender Andy Forbes has an ankle injury
Richard Pacquette and Rocky Baptiste (right) celebrate with the Hawks fans after the win against Swansea

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Alex Pike is hoping to complete the loan signing of Exeter defender Jacob Wannell in time for tomorrow’s Skrill South trip to Concord Rangers.

The Gosport Borough boss watched the 19-year-old, who can play at either centre-back or left-back, in a recent under-21 game against Torquay.

Pike saw a previous approach turned down at the last minute when the Grecians needed him for first-team cover.

But with Andy Forbes (ankle) and Brett Poate (rib) both expected to be ruled out, Pike is short of options at the back.

He said: ‘We’re hoping to complete the signing in time for the game.

‘I watched Exeter play against Torquay in the under-21s a few weeks back and he impressed me.

‘He has become available to go out on loan and that helps me because I have a few defensive injuries at the moment and we are a bit short.

‘Andy Forbes has got an ankle knock and Brett Poate has a rib injury.

‘But this deal is all agreed. It’s just a case of getting the paperwork done in time for the game.

‘It’s mutually beneficial.

‘I think he will do well for us and Exeter want to get him out on loan to give him some games over the Christmas period.’

It’s the second straight meeting with Concord Rangers after Gosport’s 1-0 FA Trophy success at Privett Park last weekend.

And Pike believes that result will have a psychological bearing – especially as his side could climb out of the relegation zone with a victory.

He said: ‘I’ve set the players the target to be outside of the relegation zone by Christmas.

‘A couple of wins will get us out of that position and will give everyone a big psychological lift.

‘It just makes a difference to everyone when you are not in the relegation zone.

‘The win over Staines showed everyone that we can compete at this level and we followed it against Concord Rangers last week in the FA Trophy.

‘I think the result last week will play a big part.

‘It was important to get the two results back-to-back and more important to get two clean sheets.

‘It showed that we can adjust to this level.

‘I heard their manager talking about getting revenge on us.

‘He is certainly up for it and my players will be as well.

‘I don’t think Concord will play any differently. I don’t think they are capable of playing any differently.’

Ian Richardson returns after being cup-tied last week.