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Stags take another look at Alex
AFC Totton plan to take another look at striker Alex Baldacchino in tomorrow’s final pre-season friendly at Fleet Town.
The Havant & Waterlooville striker scored the only goal of the game for the Stags at Wimborne last Saturday and then featured again in Tuesday’s 2-0 home defeat by Salisbury City, who scored through Theo Lewis and Dan Fitchett.
Portsmouth-based Baldacchino, pictured right, finished last season dual-signed with Southern One South & West side Poole Town having scored goals galore for New Milton in the Sydenhams League.
Poole were interested in taking him again, but Totton boss Steve Riley said: “I spoke to (Poole manager) Tom Killick about it and the travelling’s a bit of a chore for Alex. He’d like to play closer to home.
“He and Richard Gillespie worked well together against Salisbury. Alex sits on the shoulder of defenders and makes some good runs, but our supporting play was not as good as it has been in pre-season. Our delivery wasn’t good enough and Salisbury have a strong defence who kept getting blocks in.
“We matched them for most of the game, but tired in the last 20 minutes. They’re full-time and fitness told in the end. But it was quite a good runout. We needed a good, tough test.”
Riley was due to speak to Baldacchino last night and admits he would “love him to be involved” for the new Southern Premier campaign, which kicks off at Frome Town tomorrow week.
But, with Nathaniel Sherborne sidelined with a broken leg and dislocated ankle, Totton need more experience up front.
“Even with Alex, we would still need another striker,” said Riley. “Alex is a lively player who knows where the goal is, but he is still developing his game. I’m looking to see whether we can get a loan player with a bit of experience.”
Popular frontman Mark Osman, Totton’s longest serving player, would also fit the bill, but he retired at the end of last season.
“Mark’s enjoying family life, but he said I’d be the first person he’d ring if he fancied playing again,” said Riley. “I’ve spoken to him about a ‘play only’ deal with no training or other commitment, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Riley, a former Fleet player, hopes to have centre-back Jamie Whisken available after a calf strain for tomorrow’s trip to Calthorpe Park. Newly-wed skipper Carl Pettefer returns after missing the Salisbury game.