Pike weighs up Gosport Borough striker options

Lee Wort has joined Poole Town on loan
Lee Wort has joined Poole Town on loan
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Alex Pike insists he still maintains faith in his Gosport Borough fringe players, despite their FA Trophy exit at Cirencester.

Borough were knocked out by lower-league opposition last weekend, after Pike prioritised the Vanarama National League south trip to Wealdstone on Monday evening.

But that plan then came unstuck when the clash was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.

He has since sent strikers Lee Wort out on loan to Poole Town and Jamie White to Farnborough, suggesting he could be in the market for some new fire-power again.

But ahead of tomorrow’s league home clash with Chelmsford (Privett Park, 3pm), Pike believes Wort can follow in the footsteps of Justin Bennett, who was loaned out to Poole Town two seasons ago and returned to Borough with his confidence restored.

Pike said: ‘We’re hoping Lee can do the Justin Bennett trick.

‘He played the game against Cirencester and you could see he was off the pace after his injury.

‘So I wanted to get him out and Poole Town is a good place to go.

‘He needs a few games and to score some goals. Hopefully, he will come back with some confidence.

‘Jamie White has also gone out to Farnborough so he can do the same thing.

‘I don’t think it means we haven’t got depth in our squad and I won’t draw conclusions from one game in isolation.

‘I also have to be fair to those players who are not in the side and look at it from their perspective.

‘They hadn’t played for a few weeks and are then asked to slot in when they haven’t had match practice.’

Although it was understandable why Pike chose to rotate his squad last weekend, he is unsure if he will do the same again for the festive programme.

He said: ‘I learnt some lessons from that. There are players who told me there was no way they could play two games in three days.

‘At the time, I didn’t know the Monday game would be called off.

‘In future, I think I have to pay attention to the game that is on and then deal with what happens after that.

‘But I’m still not sure if I would have done anything differently.’

Meanwhile, Borough are hoping to attract a bumper crowd for the Chelmsford fixture, with club sponsors Aerial Direct footing the bill for tickets.

So far, more than 4,000 free tickets have been distributed and Pike is hoping fans turn out in big numbers.

He said: ‘The weather will have a part to play.

‘But we’ve distributed more than 4,000 tickets now and I would love to see the ground at full capacity.

‘The tickets have gone out to Gosport people who have taken the time and trouble to apply.

‘Although the tickets are free to them, it’s a chance for the club to raise revenue via our sponsors. So we’re hoping as many as possible turn up.’

Goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore is expected to return after his thigh strain but midfielder Ben Harding has not yet been given the all-clear after his hamstring problem.