Pike steals Wheeler to get stuck in at Borough

Former Pompey defender Elliot Wheeler has joined Gosport. Picture: Colin Farmery
Former Pompey defender Elliot Wheeler has joined Gosport. Picture: Colin Farmery
  • Former Pompey youngster pushing for debut at Privett Park
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Alex Pike believes he has recruited another player with a point to prove as he aims to extend Gosport Borough’s unbeaten start to the new season.

Borough host Truro City at Privett Park tomorrow (3pm) in their latest Vanarama National League South encounter, having started with two wins and three draws so far.

It’s been a positive start to the campaign that sees Borough up in fourth place ahead of an important few days with the home clash quickly followed by the Bank Holiday Monday trip to Basingstoke

Pike added former Pompey defender Elliot Wheeler to the ranks last week after his release from Stoke City in the summer.

The 21-year-old right-back from the Isle of Wight was widely-tipped to make the breakthrough at Fratton Park but the club were unable to retain him because of financial restrictions and he joined the Potters in 2013.

But he is the latest recruit who ticks the boxes of what Pike is looking for in trying to attract quality players with a hunger to play at a higher level.

Pike said: ‘I’ve been talking to him in May and June.

‘He was at Stoke City and then got invited to go to Port Vale and was with them during pre-season. The lad thought he was going to get a contract and was told by the manager that he was getting one.

‘But a new chairman came in and everything changed.

‘He rang me about a week ago and he came to training.

‘He played against Farnborough last Monday and he was superb.

‘We thought we were going to sign him.

‘But then Nuneaton – the team he was on loan at last season – came in for him.

‘They are full-time and he wants to be a full-time footballer.

‘He trained with us on Thursday and then trained with them on the Friday.

‘He phoned me and told me he felt that Gosport are more professional as a club and wanted to sign for us.

‘That really pleased me and pleased the chairman.

‘He has been with pro clubs throughout his career and it proves we are getting things right.

‘He fits into what we are trying to do – attract young, hungry players who want to progress.

‘He can play in several positions, although I needed cover at full-back.

‘But he hasn’t come here to sit on the bench.’

It remains to be seen whether Wheeler will be handed a debut with another ex-Pompey youngster, TJ Cuthbertson, performing well at right-back so far this term.

But Pike has his concerns that his defence have now conceded four goals in two games, despite taking four points.

He said: ‘We drew 2-2 with Whitehawk and then won 3-2 at Dartford.

‘But we built a lot of what we did on not conceding many goals last season so it’s something we need to address.

‘I’m pleased with the start we’ve made but we made a similar start last season and then lost a couple of games back-to-back, which knocked us back.

‘So it’s an important weekend for us. We’ve got Truro at home and then Basingstoke on Monday.’

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