Brett Poate has backed Justin Bennett to ignore the attentions of the Hawks and stay at Gosport Borough.
The 17-goal striker was the subject of interest from Borough’s Vanarama National League South rivals recently, although that trail appears to have cooled after an improved bid of £12,500 was turned down.
Poate played nearly 300 games for the Westleigh Park outfit and was a key part of the Hawks side in their famous FA Cup run in 2008.
But after joining Borough in 2011, the 32-year-old has become a vital cog in Alex Pike’s team and normally skippers the side in the absence of the injured Sam Pearce.
And ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Truro City, he believes Bennett is simply suited to his current club.
Poate said: ‘I don’t think he will go.
‘He’s not from the area but he’s a Gosport Borough boy – he knows what the club is all about.
‘Personally, I don’t think it would suit him going there.
‘He has been with us for so long and will get a testimonial in a couple of years.
‘He’s 33 now so the only thing he would improve is his money.
‘The way the two clubs are run is very, very different. And I just think he enjoys his football with us.’
Bennett has been a constant source of goals and is the club’s all-time leading goalscorer.
And Poate admits Borough would have been struggling this season without him.
He said: ‘Benno is the only one scoring goals at the minute and we need to help him out a bit.
‘Everything is on him really.
‘We’re not playing badly but if he doesn’t score, the rest of us don’t seem to be chipping in with too many goals.’
After their recent FA Cup exit, Gosport could do with a victory after hitting an indifferent spell of form.
‘It’s only one win in seven so it’s a bit of a sticky spell,’ said Poate.
‘But we beat Truro 3-1 at home recently and we need three points to keep us in and around the play-offs.’
The defender is also looking to bounce back from his individual error in last weekend’s 2-1 home defeat to leaders Ebbsfleet.
But it was typical of the player’s honesty that he held his hands up and accepted his mistake.
‘Their first one was miles offside. But unfortunately, the second goal was my fault,’ said Poate.
‘We were going well to get it back to 1-1 but then I messed up a few minutes afterwards.
‘I just misread the ball, it went past me and they got in round the back and scored. I should have cut it out.
‘I apologised to the boys afterwards. I haven’t made too many mistakes this season but it was hard to take because I thought we deserved at least a draw.
‘We’ve got honest lads and if one of us makes a mistake, we usually hold our hands up and admit it.
‘Nobody means to do it. You just get over it and you just move on to the next one.
‘I had just had a go at a couple of players and then I was the one to mess it up so I got it back from a couple of them! I can take it though.’