Hayling United have pledged to ‘fight to the death’ in their bid to avoid relegation from the Wessex League premier division, starting against Hamble ASSC at Hayling College tomorrow (3pm).
The Humbugs put in a creditable display in the 3-1 defeat at title-favourites Poole Town in midweek.
And boss Lee Paul felt his side could take a lot of heart from their performance.
‘I have to admit that, with other results not going for us, we are not in a great position,’ said Paul
‘It is starting to get a little concerning but with eight games left we won’t give up.
‘The players showed at Poole they are prepared to battle. We played well, led at half-time and showed that we were capable of absorbing a lot of pressure.
‘The frustrating thing is that if I’d had the squad I have got now at the start of the season I don’t think we would be in any trouble.
‘Unfortunately we weren’t able to get them together until halfway through the season and a lot of the damage had been done by then.
‘We know that we have got a few hard weeks ahead but we are still determined to drag ourselves out of the bottom two.’
Hayling are without the injured Rob Tambling and suspended pair Dan Martin and Jason Clements for tomorrow’s match.
Paul is boosted, however, by the return of Jack Salter-Vaile, from a coaching course, and hopes to have Barry Hooper back in the reckoning following a broken elbow.
Hayling United: Harrop, Smallbones, Thornton, Watts, Wray, Case, Turner, Black, Keogh, Burney, Kirby, Salter-Vaile, Hooper, Fisher.
n Fareham Town aim to get back on track following a disappointing fortnight which saw them exit two cup competitions.
The Reds went out of the Russell-Cotes Cup and the Portsmouth Senior Cup and also shipped three league points at Moneyfields.
Tomorrow, Fareham plan to return to winning ways when they host New Milton Town.
‘We are licking our wounds at the moment,’ said Reds assistant manager Micky Cripps, who continues to stand in for boss Matt Parr while he is in Austria on work commitments.
‘It has been tough but it is vital that we regroup and pull ourselves together,’ added Cripps.
‘We have done well most of the season and we want to end it with a flourish.
‘If we can pick ourselves up and win then I am sure it will see the energy and momentum return.
‘We cannot allow ourselves to drift into end-of-season mode and allow the season to peter out.
‘It is still possible to achieve the highest finish in the league for a long time and that has to be our target.
‘In the past couple of weeks we have suffered a few lapses in concentration to concede late goals and that is an area we need to improve in.’
Fareham hope to have the influential figure of Nathan Kirby back in midfield and will assess the fitness of Louis Martin and Danny Hayes.
Fareham Town: Redman, Buckland, Wood, Jones, Cuthbert, Boud, Spurway, Hayes, Kirby, Cotton, Dark, Lindsey, Spears, Martin, McKie, Hyde.