Alex Pike believes his Gosport Borough paupers can upset the princes of Eastleigh.
The Privett Park outfit host the promotion-chasers in Skrill South tonight (7.45pm), with Borough’s playing budget dwarfed by a club who have made their intentions clear with a fine start to the campaign.
While the Spitfires are just one point behind league leaders Bromley, Borough are second from bottom and Pike knows his men will face their sternest test of the season.
But that does not stop him from believing his side can spring a surprise.
Pike said: ‘As a team, they are the barometer of this league.
‘I saw there was a spat between their manager and the Sutton manager over who were the biggest spenders in the league.
‘If it was me, I wouldn’t care.
‘Regardless of how much you spend, the moment the chairman decides he isn’t getting value for money is the moment the manager gets usually gets sacked.
‘As far as I’m concerned, Eastleigh have a far bigger budget than I have and good luck to them.
‘So the task is probably going to be our biggest test of the season so far.
‘But the reason people go to watch football is that it’s unpredictable.
‘They are big favourites and most people know that.
‘But if we could all predict what would happen, we wouldn’t bother going to watch it.
‘There is no reason why we can’t go into the game believing we can take something.’
Some will see the fixture as a free game for Borough – a match they are expected to lose, with anything else a bonus.
But Pike does not see it that way and has taken heart that his men can cause an upset, having seen Eastleigh’s shock FA Cup defeat to Oxford City recently.
I saw their FA Cup game against Oxford City,’ said Pike.
‘I went there expecting them to thrash Oxford and they ended up beat-ing Eastleigh.
‘You have to look at their results and they have had a very good start.
‘But my teams have always reflected my personality and we believe we can go out and win every game we play.
‘The players have to believe in that as well.’
Pike, however, will be without his captain Jamie Brown for the clash as he serves a one-match suspension for his recent red card against Chelmsford.
Brown is among a clutch of former Eastleigh players now plying their trade at Gosport. But he will be a big miss having been the top performer for Borough in recent weeks.
Pike said: ‘I have a lot of ex-Eastleigh players who would love to play against their old club.
‘Maybe that will have some bearing for a few of them who may think they have something to prove.
‘Unfortunately, Jamie Brown isn’t one of them because he is suspended for this game.
‘He will be a big miss because he’s been excellent but we have to cope without him and it’s chance for someone else to step up to the mark.
‘We are in a bit of form.
‘We go into it after two games undefeated and we need to keep this run going if at all possible.’