SALISBURY FC manager Steve Claridge has said he might sign himself on as a player just in case numbers are short.

Claridge came out of retirement and played 81 minutes against his former club Portsmouth in a friendly on Saturday, July 1.

The last time the 51-year-old played was for Gosport Borough in 2012 when he scored four goals in 11 appearances.

“I might sign on this year just in case, because we are a player short up front,” said Claridge.

The Whites lost 3-0 against the south coast side and the former player who scored 34 goals in 104 for the side said: “It was really strange being out for so long.

“I was a bit rusty, but I did some good things and I did some bad things. I really enjoyed it actually.”

He added: “I would have liked a little bit more of the ball and maybe not so much running around.

“I would have liked a little bit more of the ball in areas where you can hurt the opposition.

“But I didn’t let anyone down. I didn’t embarrass myself.”

The Whites boss had no option but to play himself, as no other strikers were available. New signings Marvin Brooks and Mark Francis were away on holiday, and he did not want to play a trialist out of position.

The lack of personnel was because the fixture reasonably late, but the club were in no position to turn it down.

Claridge has said that he shouldn’t be needed again during Salisbury’s pre-season, as players would have returned from holiday.

But said: “There’s three games in quick succession so I might play.

“As long as the lads can handle it and if they can’t then I will play in one.”

The Salisbury boss has also said that he was pleased with his team’s performance in the game and said: “I thought we did very well first half, I thought we were excellent when you consider the amount of players we had out.

“0-0 at half time against a very good side that have just been promoted is fantastic.”

“The reason why we got beat was because they made the changes second half, if we had the eight or nine players missing playing then it might have finished up pretty close.”

Claridge managed Portsmouth in 2000, taking over from now West Brom manager Tony Pulis.

Current Pompey manager Kenny Jackett told the Portsmouth club website: “Credit to him because he must have a real enthusiasm for football to carry on playing.

“He got a terrific reception when he came off, and rightly so. We wish him and his team all the best for a successful season.”