Why Gosport Borough boss Shaun Gale would not swap places with any Southern League Premier South play-off rival as race for top-five finish intensifies

Gosport Borough manager Shaun Gale insists the club have taken 'strides forward' this season - no matter where they finish in the Southern League Premier South standings come the end of the campaign.

By Lewis Mason
Thursday, 24th February 2022, 1:32 pm

But Boro boss remains intent on delivering a play-off finish - and possible promotion to the National League South - as the Privett Park outfit head into a crucial final run-in.

Gosport dropped a place to sixth in the table and out of the play-off positions on goal difference, as Chesham United climbed above them and up to fifth following their midweek win.

As things stand, Boro have played the joint-most fixtures in the division (33), as clubs in and around them all have games in hand on Gale's troops.

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Elliott Wheeler, left, is nearing a return to fitness after recent spells out with an ankle injury and Covid - but wont be ready in time for Gosport's trip to face Beaconsfield Picture: Tom Phillips

But as the race to clinch a top-five place is sure to gather pace in the coming weeks, Gale is adamant he'd rather have the points on the board than fixtures in the bank with play-off rivals facing a hectic finish to the campaign.

‘For me, I’d like to get out (of the division), I’d love to get the opportunity to the next level, but we’ll see,’ said the Boro boss.

‘The strides we’ve made forward as a club, whatever happens - if we get in or don’t get in (the play-offs) - we get promoted or whatever happens, we know it’s been a positive season up until now for the football club. It’s probably the most positive they’ve had in the past few years.

‘It’s going to be interesting. If we can keep picking up points and stay in around it (play-offs), that’s the key to it.

‘Obviously, people around have got games in hand and they’re going to keep playing those games but you never know.

‘I’ve seen it before where teams are running out of players and eventually you can’t sustain it with the size of the squad. Ultimately, we’d rather have the points in the bag than having games in hand.’

Gosport are bidding to make it seven league games unbeaten with a trip to Beaconsfield to come on Saturday.

It looks as though Boro could be in for an enthralling finish to the season, with games against Taunton, Weston-super-Mare, Chesham and Yate - all clubs currently in the top-eight and in the race for a play-off finish - to play in four of their final six matches.

But Gale stressed his squad must focus on what's immediately in front of them to ensure they can themselves continue to stay in the play-off picture.

He added: ‘We want to stay in the hunt, in and around it, obviously we’ve dropped out on goal difference (of play-offs) at the moment - a positive result Saturday and other results go your way Saturday, we might be back in there. All we can focus on is Saturday, that’s all we will be doing, and hopefully we can get three points.’

Boro remain without Rory Williams and Bradley Tarbuck (both hamstring) along with Elliott Wheeler - who recently contracted Covid - for the trip to Beaconsfield.