Rocks striker backed to give Magpies added Prior power

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Craig McAllister. Picture: Keith Woodland

Pike sees positives amid Borough’s misfortune

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Moneyfields manager Miles Rutherford is tipping Jason Prior for greater things as the Bognor Regis striker heads off for a trial at Premier League Newcastle United this week.

Prior spent two years with the Dover Road club before being snapped up by the Rocks where he has proved a huge success.

Conference South outfit Eastleigh looked set to sign Prior on New Years Day but the deal fell through after Newcastle’s offer of a trial.

Rutherford, left, has little doubt that the player is capable of playing at a much higher level and has been in touch with his ex-player to wish him the best.

‘Jason showed with us that he possesses great technical ability and everyone at the club knew he was destined to go higher,’ said Rutherford.

‘He is a level-headed lad and always eager to learn.

‘Sometimes he came across as a lethargic looking player but in reality that wasn’t the case.

‘He came to us as a 19-year-old central midfielder after spells at Portsmouth and Newbury. but because of his physical presence he was always going to play up front.

The lad looks a real athlete.

‘He certainly knows where the goal is and has been top scorer at Bognor for two seasons.

‘Now he has the opportunity of a lifetime and he must approach it with an open mind.

‘Bognor will take a lot of credit for what has happened but we like to think that it also reflects well on our club.

‘Jason still drinks at our club with his friends and we are all hoping that he does well.

‘All he can do is go up there, listen and give it his best go.’

Rutherford is now concerned that other clubs are starting to take an interest in his current in-form striker Steve Hutchings.

The 20-year-old ex-Bournemouth and Hawks striker has been in a rich goalscoring vein this season and hit a hat-trick in the 4-0 win over Horndean at Christmas.

Hutchings had a poor disciplinary record earlier in the campaign but appears to be sorting himself out in that respect.

‘Clubs from a higher level have already been here having a look at him,’ said Rutherford.

‘I don’t think that for the time being he is ready to go and I think the player would agree with that.

‘It would be nice to keep him for another year.’

n The heavy rains meant Moneyfields’ home Wessex Premier encounter against Totton & Eling last night was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Hayling United’s visit to Alton Town, and AFC Portchester’s division one local derby clash against United Services Portsmouth were also washed-out on a frustrating night in the area.