“The most important thing is to create an identity” – Gosport Borough’s new era launched against Bracknell in Southern League curtain-raiser

Corey Jordan is set for his competitive Gosport debut this weekendCorey Jordan is set for his competitive Gosport debut this weekend
Corey Jordan is set for his competitive Gosport debut this weekend
“The most important thing is to create an identity.”

That’s the view of Gosport Borough co-boss Joe Lea on the eve of the Southern Premier League South campaign.

A new era opens at Privett Park as Lea and Suraci take charge of Boro in a competitive game for the first time at home to Bracknell.

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It couldn’t be a much tougher start. While Boro were fighting a successful relegation battle last term, Bracknell finished runners-up - just three points adrift of champions Weston-super-Mare.

Lea and Suraci have kept the core of last season’s squad, such as the experienced Danny Hollands, Brad Tarbuck, Dan Wooden and Rory Williams.

They have added two young Pompey players on loan until the end of December, keeper Toby Steward and full-back Harvey Laidlaw.

Rafa Ramos, who was playing for Portchester in the Wessex League two seasons ago, ex-Aldershot centre half Corey Jordan and former Dorchester winger Antonio Diaz are among the permanent new signings.

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Asked to list his 2023/24 targets, Lea told The News: “The most important thing is to create an identity.

“We want to create an identity that players want to play for us and that people want to come and watch.

‘Whenever people ask me that question, the first thing I always say is identity.

‘We would like to finish in the top half of the table if possible.

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‘I would love to say we’re looking at the last play-off place, but you have to bear in mind the club were in a relegation battle last season.

‘To flit from a relegation threatened side to one challenging at the other end of the table, it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight.

“But we have put ourselves in a good place. We’ve done what we set out to do.

“We’ve kept things pretty local, we’ve brought in young, hungry players from lower leagues and in Corey Jordan, as I’ve said before, we’ve signed a player who is a perfect fit for us.

‘We’re really pleased with the signings that we’ve made.”

Lea reports virtually a fully fit squad for the curtain-raiser, with Zak Sharp - another close season recruit, back at Boro for a second spell - has been struggling with a toe injury.