ALEX Pike is hoping his pedigree players can cope in front of a “hostile” Tatnam crowd – and he wants a referee who can also handle the pressure.

Poole Town could be supported by more than 1,000 spectators when they host Pike’s Gosport Borough in the Southern League Division One South & West play-off final on Monday.

Rival manager Pike admits Dolphins, who boast the highest attendances in the division, will receive an advantage from their vociferous backing on home turf. But he is calling for his players – and the match officials – to not be influenced by the occasion.

Pike, who attended Poole’s 2-1 semi-final win over Hungerford on Tuesday, told the Daily Echo: “I know Dave Diaper (Sholing manager) highlighted that Poole have got such a good crowd and following that he felt referees would get under pressure.

“We were on the end of a terrible decision when we played them on January 2 when the referee gave a penalty that never was. Poole even published photographs in their programme to prove that wasn’t a penalty.

“On Tuesday night, the referee gave a penalty. My assistant manager was there on the spot and the ball actually hit the lad on the backside.

“I think referees go down to Tatnam and they are put under pressure. We need a strong referee on Monday, that’s for sure.”

Pike added: “The attendance records don’t lie and the Poole crowd are a magnificent one and they do help their team. They are very vociferous as well and they back their team. On Tuesday night, they got behind the goal and were having a go at the Hunger-ford goalkeeper and the next minute he dropped the ball, made a mistake and Carl Preston scored.

“Players at our level aren’t necessarily used to playing in front of such a hostile crowd but Poole are.

“I have got players that have come from a higher level. If my players got intimidated like that then I would be disappointed.”

The match will see Pike lock horns with fellow Wimborne 1992 FA Vase heroes Tom Killick and Taffy Richardson. He joked: “It is nice that 20 years later you have got the sorcerer taking on the apprentice – and I think the only thing I taught Tommy was what not to do! He has been really successful over the past four years. He has done a great job.”