Pike: I can get best out of ex-Pompey forward

Ashley Harris  Picture: Joe Pepler
Ashley Harris Picture: Joe Pepler

Ashley Harris has been offered a football lifeline – with Gosport Borough.

The 20-year-old forward was released by Pompey boss Andy Awford last week after falling way down the pecking order at Fratton Park in recent times.

After unsuccessful loan spells at the Hawks, Chelmsford and Bognor failed to re-ignite his career last term, Borough boss Alex Pike believes the forward still has plenty to offer.

And he wants to convince him to come to Privett Park for next season’s Conference South campaign.

Pike believes it could give the Purbrook talent the ideal springboard to resurrect his career.

‘I am interested in speaking to Ashley,’ said Pike.

‘He is maybe lacking a bit of confidence at the moment with what’s happened.

‘But he may just want to prove a few people wrong and get his career back on track.

‘He would fit exactly what I am looking for in players.

‘I am looking to go down the younger route and to get in hungry players that have been released from professional clubs.

‘These lads want to show the clubs that they were wrong to release them and have something to prove.

‘I was at Fratton Park a couple of years ago watching a game and the crowd were chanting his name when he started warming up. That tells you how highly they rated him and they (the Pompey fans) know their players.

‘You can’t go from Portsmouth to nowhere overnight.

‘He just needs a bit of confidence and a manager who knows how to get the best out of him. He has not suddenly become a bad player.’

After making his debut as a substitute in a 4-1 Championship win over Birmingham in 2012, Harris was part of the plans early in the following League One campaign – scoring his first senior goal at Carlisle in a 4-2 defeat.

But he made his biggest Blues impact in a 3-0 win at Crawley when he came on and scored as substitute.

Of those players Awford has released, Harris’ departure from Pompey has caused the most reaction among Fratton Park fans.

But having earned an improved contract under former boss Michael Appleton, Pompey could not offer Harris the same terms when his contract expired.

Harris will be keen to stay at the highest level possible, while it has also been rumoured that he may re-join Pompey in pre-season on a trial basis. But Pike is ready to make him an offer.

He said: ‘Sometimes players go through confidence problems, some realise that they aren’t going to fulfil their dream of becoming a professional and others take a step back and then go again.

‘It can work for some players to play in non-league football. They can get themselves a job and still earn good money from the game.

‘You just need the right attitude and mentality.’