Men's First Team
Isuzu FA Trophy Mon 30 October MKM Arena
Bognor Regis Town
  • Gifford (19', 54')
  • Robson (56')
Gosport Borough

Defensive colossus Robson has been side-lined for two weeks with a knee injury and he has been sorely missed in the defeats at Hornchurch last Saturday and midweek at Whitehawk.

The Rocks fell to a 4-1 reverse in Essex then were beaten 3-2 against the Hawks, leaving them in 14th position in the Isthmian premier division table.

Next up is the visit to the MKM Arena of Boro, who sit at the summit of the Southern League Premier Division South. And Blake says the first-round clash is the perfect fixture for his player to regain their focus as the prospect of Robson’s return remains in the balance.

He said: “The Gosport game will provide challenges that are just what we need after the two defeats on the road. We lost at Hornchurch, the league leaders and who are formidable at the minute and again at Whitehawk and both results have been hard to take. We had spells of positivity in both matches but you can’t defend the way we did and expect to come away with anything.

“Central to that lack of understanding while defending has been the loss of Robson. At our level, we can’t afford to lose a player of his ability and quality and not suffer. That is not to say that those who have come in, Danny Howick especially, aren’t up to the job. But with Robbo you have a player who has been round the block at a decent level and has experience in bundles. Experience is something you can’t give young players.

“They have to go through the ups and downs of the game to be able to form their character as a player. Danny is a good example. He scored at Whitehawk on Tuesday in the 3-2 loss but was also on the losing side. That 90 minutes will provide him with an experience to reflect upon throughout his career, as will other matches of course.

“The news about Robbo’s injury is pretty much up in the air. He could be back sooner rather than later, or it could be a few more weeks. The knee injury he picked up has definitely left us short, but his absence gives others the chance to come in and stake a claim.

“I am looking for a response from the entire squad – our fans deserve reward for their continued backing of the boys.”