By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH FC have confirmed their sixth new signing of pre-season as they announced that striker Harvey Bradbury has joined Shaun Gale’s side for the 2022-23 campaign; with the Fareham-based centre forward hoping for stability following a mixed career featuring spells with Portsmouth, Watford, Oxford United and Millwall since bursting onto the scene six years ago.
Graduating from the academy at Fratton Park after scoring 14 goals in twenty-six youth level matches; Bradbury was sent on loan to Havant & Waterlooville in January 2017 in hope of a prolonged period of first-team action. But injuries saw him limited to one appearance for the Hawks as he left Portsmouth for free, swapping the Blues for Watford under-23s on an initial trial basis which was then extended.
First team opportunities were again restricted at the Premier League club during his one year contract at Vicarage Road; instead being sent on loan at National League clubs St Albans City. He made eleven first team appearances for his new club and scored two goals, including a brilliant individual finish versus Concord Rangers in March 2018 in a two-one victory from just his sixth appearance.
Joining Oxford United in July 2018 for free, Bradbury immediately returned to the National League South with a one-moth loan spell at Hungerford Town; scoring on his debut versus former club St Albans City. Woking then signed the striker on a separate short-term loan and Bradbury made an immediate impact as he scored a hat-trick in their 4-0 win versus Tooting & Mitcham United in the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round.
Bradbury returned to Oxford and was given his first senior appearance by manager Karl Robinson, featuring in a three-nil EFL Trophy victory over Wycombe on November 6, 2018. He then made his league debut at the Kassam Stadium eleven days later versus Gillingham in a one-nil victory before re-joining Woking on loan, helping them to win promotion to the National League via the play-offs at Kingsfield Stadium.
Spells with Millwall and Morecombe brought him only three appearances during the 2019-20 campaign, which was of course disturbed and voided by the start of Covid-19 restrictions. He then joined Oxford City in July 2020 and has made 38 appearances since, scoring 15 goals in his two year spell alongside a loan spell at Welling earlier this year.
Bradbury joins Gosport on an initial one year deal following his release from Oxford City and will provide competition to an experienced attack at Privett Park, which boosts the talent of Dan Wooden and Matt Paterson. And Shaun Gale was delighted to confirm the new signing following a good relationship with his father Lee Bradbury, who is the current Eastleigh boss and the pair worked together at Havant & Waterlooville for several years.
Gale said of his new signing on the club website: “Harvey is another massive signing for us and I’m delighted to get him. He is a talented centre forward and just the sort of player we were perhaps missing last season. “He is is the type of centre forward we have been wanting to add to our squad, and he brings a different dimension to what we already have in the squad.”
He continued: “I have known his father Lee for over 20 years, and worked with him for seven years at Havant & Waterlooville, so I have been following Harvey’s career over the years and have been impressed with his performances, and he is just what we need. He knows many of our players and will be a real asset in the changing room. Again a player who ticks all the boxes for me and will make us stronger. He has bought into what the Club are trying to achieve, and importantly wants to be here.”
Bradbury has joined Danny Hollands, Abdulai Bell-Baggie, returning goalkeeper Pat O’Flaherty, Andreas Robinson and young defender Dan Walster in moving to Privett Park this summer; with more expected to join in the coming weeks. Some of these players will be making their debuts this weekend as Gosport play their opening pre-season encounters versus Petersfield Town away on Friday night and host Portsmouth in a much-anticipated local derby clash on Sunday afternoon with a 3pm kick-off at Privett Park.
PICTURED BY DAVE HAINES: New Gosport signing wheels away in celebration during 2021-22 campaign.