Liam Watson discusses Southport striking options after Marcus Carver exit as they prepare for Solihull Moors

Southport forward Jordan Archer celebrates his goal.

Southport manager Liam Watson says that they’re trying to sign a new forward following Marcus Carver’s departure.

The 28-year-old secured a move back to the Football League after signing for Hartlepool United for an undisclosed fee.

Fractions of the Yellows supporters were disappointed with the news and questioned the club’s ambitions in getting out of the National League North with Port in the best position to do so for a number of years.

But Connor Woods and Jordan Archer both staked their claim to ease the fallout and become the next key men with three goals between them during their midweek win over Charnock Richard.

Carver was their top goalscorer scoring 12 goals in 17 appearances but Watson says he won’t force George Newell back after playing just one 90 minutes since his double leg-break last year.

“It wasn’t a difficult decision for the club, for me, Marcus has done everything so well,” he told Off The Park.

“The model we have at the football club we won’t stand in peoples way, we won’t get trod over by clubs higher up. If it’s right for the club, right for the player we’ll try our best to make it happen, he’s 28, he’s been brilliant around the place, he’s scored goals and he deserves a crack at going back, he’s got two young children, he was out of contract in the summer. All in all, it works for everyone. 

“We’re happy with the compensation. I think Hartlepool have got good value for their money. 

“We’re trying, we’re trying. We’ve got to sign players who fit our profile and that’s where we’re up to.”

With one departing, Port secured a loan move until the end of the season for Liam Edwards from Bolton Wanderers after suffering a similar horror injury to Newell.

Liam’s a really important player for us we’ve just got to help Liam get through his injury where it is and manage it in the right way. Hopefully if that’s the case we could have a good player. 

“He [George] will be extending at Marine because at the moment and I’ve spoke to George and Youngy [Neil Young]. George has only played one 90 minutes in a year, he’s played a few games, scored a few goals.

“George is obviously the future of Southport, from that point of view we need him back in the team. But back when he’s ready, we don’t need to force him and if you’re going to say one 90 minutes in 12 months after a double leg break I think that’s forcing it.

“Ambitions? If you went back 18 months the ambitions of this football club were to survive so the stuff which has gone on at the club by the; people on the board, commercial manager – Steve Dewsnip, Ian, Pottsy, even all the players, the volunteers, the fans have absolutely bent spoons to keep the club going where they are,” Watson said.

“The fact that we’re doing well on the pitch actually helps, but if you go into the season, we’ve lost our main sponsor as well, with Pure, it’s been a really, really difficult situation to come through so if someone wants to question our ambition they’re silly.

“We want to do what’s right for the football club, to make the longevity of the club a success, that’s where we’re up to.”

This week saw the Sandgrounders return to action as they booked their place in the Lancashire Cup semi-final with a 3-1 win over Charnock Richard.

Woods opened the scoring with a brilliant solo effort whilst strike partner Archer scored twice as they returned to action after an extended break from outbreaks and adverse weather.

“Two forwards played, Connor Woods scored, Jordan Archer scored two so we will miss obviously miss Marcus – that’s a fact.

“Not just on the pitch but in the dressing room, he was a senior player in terms of the fine committee and the organisation so we will miss him more than as a player. We’ve lost many players over the years, you’ve just got to replace them.”

“We haven’t played since the 28th, it was a competitive match, lovely pitch, good facilities all to do with that was really good. I couldn’t have asked for any more from the player’s attitude, application was fabulous and puts us in a semi-final.”

With Solihull Moors next for Port, Watson isn’t overawed by the difference in league positions as they welcome the National League promotion chasers.

But his intentions of going into the hat for the first round are clear.

“A full-time team, huge budget at the level its a really good game to test ourselves in. Our intention is to make a good account of ourselves and make sure we get in the hat for the first round.”

[Featured image: Julia Urwin – Southport FC]

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