JOHN Robson has made goalkeeper Gareth Barfoot his first summer capture at Blackfield & Langley.
But the experienced Gang Warily boss looks like missing out on signing ex-Eastleigh and Winchester City hot-shot Andy Forbes.
With Forbes at the end of his one-year deal at Gosport Borough, Robson approached him after speaking with Borough boss Alex Pike.
Told that travelling was a stumbling block for the Reading-based hitman, Robson even arranged from him to train with Wessex One outfit Tadley Calleva to spare him countless journeys to Southampton’s Waterside.
But it seems likely that Forbes, 35, will cut down on mileage by joining a club in the Berkshire area.
“I’d love to have signed Forbesy as a striker again rather than as a full-back as he’s been with Eastleigh and Gosport,” said Robson. “But I think he’s had an offer closer to home that he can’t refuse and I’ve got to respect him for that.”
Barfoot was No2 to Nathan Ashmore in Gosport’s debut Conference South season after returning to Privett Park last summer.
Prior to that, the popular former BAT and Christchurch ’keeper had sandwiched a stint at Eastleigh between two spells at AFC Totton.
“I know Gareth quite well, he’s a good friend of my (son) Darren,” said Robson. “I’m a big believer in getting to know the character as well as the player and he’s a nice lad as well as a good goalkeeper.”
Barfoot’s arrival doesn’t spell the end of the Blackfield road for last season’s No1 Rory Anderson.
“Rory’s staying. We need two ’keepers,” stressed Robson, who aims to have the 2012/13 Wessex champions challenging for the title again after a sixth-placed finish last term.
*BRIAN Dutton has joined Conference South outfit Havant & Waterlooville on a one-year deal.
The 29-year-old ex-Eastleigh and Weymouth midfielder arrives from Salisbury City where he played 22 games in the Skrill Premier last term.
“I had a great time at Salisbury, captaining the team to two promotions, but everything runs its course,” said Dutton.
He is the Hawks’ third summer signing, joining striker Bradley Bubb, released by Aldershot Town, and goalkeeper Ryan Young from AFC Telford.