NEW arrival TJ Cuthbertson has big shoes to fill at Sholing.
Cuthbertson, signed from reigning Sydenhams Premier champions Blackfield & Langley, has been brought in to provide competition for the right-back role.
Kevin Brewster generally fills that berth, but the experienced wideman injured his ankle against Downton on December 28 and will be sidelined until next month.
Sholing boss Dave Diaper said: “Kev is the best full-back going forward in this league, without a doubt.
“But he came off injured against Downton and is out for five or six weeks.
“TJ is someone I’ve liked for a long time. He played against us for Winchester City and I’ve seen him play several times.
“He’s a good player and a nice lad.
“A lot of our players know him already so he’ll have no problem fitting in. The lads have accepted him straight away.”
Southampton-based Cuthbertson, then a striker, signed a two-year scholarship for Portsmouth as a 16-year-old in 2005.
Following his release from Fratton Park he had a spell at Eastleigh and, for the past two seasons, he has been part of Sydenhams Premier championship-winning sides at Winchester and Blackfield.
Diaper will be hoping he can make it a trio of titles with the table-topping Boatmen who, heading into tomorrow’s home game against Bemerton Heath Harlequins, have won 18 and drawn two of their 20 league games.
“We’ve predominantly signed TJ as a right-back but he might have played as a centre-half for Blackfield against Bemerton recently, so he’s versatile,” said Diaper. “Good players can play in more than one position.
“Blackfield tried to tempt TJ to stay, but he lives locally in Hamble Lane, so it makes sense for him to come to Sholing. I don’t think he’s very happy with the way things have gone at Blackfield.”
Tomorrow’s visitors Bemerton are having an indifferent season by their own high standards.
Tuesday’s 1-0 home defeat by Moneyfields – settled by a 17th-minute Steve Hutchings strike – was the 11th league reverse of the season for Ian Chalk’s ninth-placed side.
Chalk reflected: “We played some excellent football, but lacked composure in front of goal.
“It was a game of two halves as they were better in the first half while we dominated the second.”
Harlequins will be looking to avenge the 7-0 stuffing they suffered at Sholing’s hands in the League Cup in November.
“Sholing are a fantastic side who are far too good for this league,” said Chalk.
“We’ll do our best and certainly have a go at them.”