Keeper signs as Borough aim to plug defensive gaps

Mark Smith
Mark Smith

Eastbourne Borough have signed goalkeeper Mark Smith on loan from National League outfit Aldershot to help stem the flow of goals against them.

Borough have leaked 35 goals from 18 league matches this season - only basement club Whitehawk have conceded more.

Manager Jamie Howell witnessed his out of sorts team ship nine in their last two league games thanks to a grim home defeat to lowly Poole, followed by a 5-1 hammering at midtable Weston-super-Mare.

Smith, who began his career at QPR, made two appearances for The Shots this season and is eligible to play the next four league games for Borough. Bailey Vose, Howell’s first choice keeper from the start of the season, has returned to parent club Brighton.

“Mark will add experience and physicality to the team, something I felt has been lacking in recent weeks,” Howell said. “Bailey (Vose) did very well for us but I do think an experienced goalkeeper will help in the situation we find ourselves in.”

Howell accepts the criticism he and his team have received in recent weeks but insists everyone at the club are working hard to rectify the situation. “Things are not good and the team is struggling at the minute - I can’t hide from that fact.

“The last two weeks in particular have not been good. We know what we need to do to put things right. The board have been incredibly supportive. My job is to work and bring out the best in the players we have but also work hard to bring in a couple of fresh faces.

“I have had the phone pressed against my ear all week. We have managed to get Mark in from Aldershot and I hope to see a couple more new faces, hopefully in time for Bath but if not, for next week.”

Bath, who are 12th in the National League South, are next up at Priory Lane.

“They are strong, physical and organised, “Howell added. “But I’m more concerned with what we do. We’ve had good spells that are encouraging but we have a soft underbelly. We have to put that right fast.”

Yemi Odubade is expected to return for the Ryston match on Saturday, November 25