Ex-Pompey striker set for Borough chance

Former Pompey forward Ashley Harris Picture: Joe Pepler
Former Pompey forward Ashley Harris Picture: Joe Pepler

Alex Pike is considering throwing Ashley Harris straight into Gosport Borough’s FA Cup showdown at Maidenhead United.

The former Pompey forward was due to sign a deal until the end of the season last night after training with the Privett Park outfit this week.

The 20-year-old left Fratton Park in the summer after coming through the youth ranks and scoring three goals in 35 first-team appearances.

Borough were interested in the summer but Pike never got the opportunity to speak to the player.

And since then, Harris has been waiting for a chance with trial periods at other clubs, while a deal with Hawks has failed to materialise.

Now Pike has stepped in to offer him a lifeline and if the documents are received by 3pm today, as anticipated, Harris will be in the squad tomorrow.

Pike said: ‘He trained with us on Tuesday and last night and looked good.

‘We are in October and the lad hasn’t got a club but we made him a fair offer and I’m sure he can do a good job for us.

‘He wants to prove people wrong and he fits into what we are looking to do at this club.

‘He has been released from a professional club, he has been training with others but nobody has taken a punt on him.

‘But Gosport are prepared to do that. A player like Ashley Harris should not be playing at a level any lower than ours.

‘As long as everything goes through in time as it should, the plan is that he will be in the squad against Maidenhead and then it’s decision on whether he starts.’

While Harris was popular with fans at Pompey, he lost his way last season and endured some unsuccessful loan spells at Hawks, Chelmsford and Bognor.

But Pike has already earmarked him for a role behind the strikers in his team to try to get the best from a player of undoubted ability.

He said: ‘We have found a way of playing with the diamond formation that suits our players and I think there is a position that is tailor-made for him behind the strikers.

‘I’ve seen him up front and on the wing but I think that would be his best position.

‘I went to watch a game at Fratton Park and the crowd were singing his name as he was warming up so it shows you what they thought of him.

‘I think the lad needs a chance and someone to show a bit of faith in him.

‘I have got no problem with us being a stepping stone for him.

‘He wants to get back into the Football League but he knows that he needs to show people what he is capable of doing to have any chance of doing that.’

Vanarama Conference South rivals Maidenhead boast their own striker with an impressive CV in former QPR and Birmingham man, DJ Campbell, who has signed on a match-to-match basis.

But Pike believes they should be more worried by his in-form strike pair, Justin Bennett and Matt Paterson.

He said: ‘I will let Maidenhead worry about my strikers.

‘Every Sunday I look at who are the top goalscorers in our division.

‘I see Justin Bennett and Matt Paterson but I don’t see DJ Campbell.

‘We’ve had them watched twice and, of course, we aware of what he can do.’

Meanwhile, centre-back Ben Gerring has joined Bideford Town on loan for a month, while he continues his recovery from a knee injury.

Brett Poate returns to the squad after suspension.

GOSPORT: Ashmore, Forbes, Matthews, Poate, Pearce, Williams, Carter, Smith, Wooden, Ramsey, Bennett, Paterson, Harris, Dunford, Wilde, Saez, Wort