Lee Bradbury isn’t expecting an easy ride for the Hawks when they host AFC Portchester in the Portsmouth Senior Cup tonight (7.45pm).
The Westleigh Park side cruised to a 9-0 win over Baffins Milton Rovers in the last round, but the manager predicts stronger resistance from the Royals.
‘We know Portchester are a good little side at the top end of the Wessex premier,’ said Bradbury.
‘They have some experienced players who have played at our level.
‘On their day they are capable of coming and causing an upset.
‘It is a local derby and they will raise their game.
‘We have to make sure that we are ready to deal with that.
‘As much as we want to win the competition again, the league and promotion remains our priority.
‘We have a couple of important league games coming up so a few players will be rested.’
Bradbury is likely to give those who haven’t been getting into the starting line-up a run out.
That means the likes of Matt Paterson and James Hayter are likely to feature.
Academy players Harry Bedford, Kevin Brown and Sam Winterburn could also find themselves drafted into the squad.
Royals boss Graham Rix is under no illusions to the difficulty of the task facing his out-of-form side.
Three successive league defeats have dented their confidence.
However, Rix is hoping his side can use the occasion to rediscover their touch.
This particularly applies to his forwards, who have failed to take their chances in the recent defeats.
‘We can’t expect to get many chances against the Hawks so when they come along we have to take them,’ said Rix.
‘If we don’t approach the game in the right way then we could end up having a right going over.
‘This is a big game for us and we have shown that we can raise ourselves up against better teams.
‘In many ways it is a free game for us because we are not expected to win.
‘If we perform to our potential and take our chances, though, we can give them a good game.
‘It is a big test for us but one we should look forward to and not fear.’
Entry to the game is priced at £5 for all.
– KEVIN RICKETTS