Prior deal a no-brainer for Pike in survival bid

Jason Prior
Jason Prior
Rowan Vine. Picture: Keith Woodland

Vine calling for Gosport to fight to the finish

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Alex Pike reckons new recruit Jason Prior will help fire Gosport Borough to Skrill South safety.

The former Moneyfields, Bognor and AFC Wimbledon hitman has penned a month-long loan from Skrill Premier side Dartford.

He is not expected to feature against the Hawks in the second leg of the FA Trophy semi-final at Privett Park on Saturday, as he continues his recovery from a broken ankle.

But Borough boss Pike reckons the quality of Prior, who scored 95 goals in 126 appearances for Bognor, will be crucial as his side scrap for survival in the league.

And by completing his Privett Park move before the first leg of the Trophy semi-final last weekend, he ensured he will be eligible for the final at Wembley – should Gosport defeat the Hawks.

Pike said: ‘He’s been given the all-clear to start training.

‘It could be another two to three weeks before he is back playing but we have got a lot of games coming up.

‘He’s a goalscorer and I definitely think he’ll be firing for us quickly.

‘I wouldn’t have signed him if I thought otherwise.’

The Borough boss reckons the deal was a no-brainer, with Prior still based on the south coast.

And he likened his new striker to former Torquay hitman Tim Sills, who fired Gosport’s goal in their 1-1 draw with the Hawks in the first leg of the Trophy semi-final on Monday.

‘He’s a big, physical presence and is a natural finisher,’ said Pike.

‘He’s in the mould of Tim Sills but a younger version. He’s had a terrible run (with injury) but I knew he might be available.

‘And as he lives in Portsmouth, it makes sense.

‘It’s not a publicity stunt. It’s about signing a good striker to help us.

‘Dartford have been extremely good. We have taken him initially on a one-month loan and can extend that for another month.’

Prior was set to complete a £12,000 move to Eastleigh from the Rocks in January 2012, before he was offered a trial at Premier League Newcastle.

He scored for the Magpies in a 3-1 win over Wigan reserves but, despite of a successful three-week trial period, he failed to win a contract.

AFC Wimbledon were quick to offer him a two-and-a-half-year deal but he made just nine first-team appearances as a knee injury and double leg break scuppered his chances.

He moved to Dartford on loan before sealing a permanent deal, but has now returned home to the south coast.

Pike added: ‘He’s a quality player but he is coming back from a broken ankle, so it’s extremely unlikely he will feature on Saturday.

‘He reckons he will be fit for the first of second week in March, but wants to get back earlier if he can.’