Pope back on trial with Bournemouth

Ben Pope
Ben Pope

WORTHING Football Club joint boss Gary Elphick is hoping Ben Pope can secure a deal with Premier League Bournemouth this week.

Rebels’ promising young striker was with Cherries’ under-21 team on trial last week and was then invited back to the club this week. He joined up with Bournemouth again yesterday and will be with them until Saturday.

Elphick said: “We all want to see Ben go to Bournemouth as it’s something he deserves.

“We’ve asked Bournemouth to let us know what they’re going to do over the weekend as he’s a pivotal player for us. They must think something of him to invite him back again and, hopefully, if he does sign, we could sort something out which benefits both parties.

“Whether we could get him back on loan, I don’t know. We just want the best for Ben to help him progress with his career, although we’d love to have him in our squad for the start of the season.”

Striker Tony Nwachukwu, who joined Rebels from Horsham this summer, might not return to action until September owing to a stomach strain but Rebels are hoping to add more new faces to their squad.

Worthing are looking to sign midfielder Baris Bozyigit, who was with Sussex County League side Shoreham last season and had been on trial with Whitehawk. He impressed in Rebels’ 7-1 win against Woking’s Academy on Saturday, when Worthing also fielded three trialists from Ebbsfleet.

Rebels are hoping to tie up season-long deals for two of the players, while they have not taken their interest any further in the two Havant & Waterlooville trialists who played in earlier pre-season games.

Worthing have also announced that Steve Metcalf will captain the side this season, while Matt Hurley will be club captain.

Elphick said: “I think that Steve will turn out to be one of the signings of the season. His attitude is top-class on and off the pitch.

“He’s a great role model and is Worthing through and through and I couldn’t think of a better figurehead.

“Matt will be club captain and he leads by example with the way he plays. Although we’re a young side, I want to see everyone talking on the pitch and I want 11 leaders out there.”

On Saturday, Pope netted twice, two Ebbsfleet trialists scored twice each, and Jaz Rance was also on target in the victory against Woking’s Academy.

Omar Bugiel then scored twice as Worthing beat local rivals Bognor Regis 2-1 on Monday.

Bognor went ahead through Jason Prior’s penalty on 13 minutes but Bugiel equalised on 54 minutes, before he got the winner on 68 minutes.

Elphick said: “For the first half-hour, we were chasing shadows a little bit but the subs then came on in the second half and all had a positive impact.”

Rebels travel to Arundel for their final pre-season friendly on Saturday and Elphick said: “We’ll have a fairly strong team out, which gives everyone another chance to get used to each other.

“It’s the beginning of our last week of preparation, so we’ll be working on set-pieces and other things to make sure we’re ready for what will, hopefully, be a successful campaign.

“It’s also a game on grass, which we’re going to have to adapt to again as we’ve played a lot of games on the 3G pitch.”

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