History in the making for Portchester

Louis Bell. Picture: Malcolm Wells

Bell calls for fans to help Baffins reach final

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AFC Portchester are determined to make their mark as they host an historic first-ever FA Cup tie tomorrow.

Newport IOW are the visitors to Wicor Mill for the preliminary round clash.

The competition is 140 years old and although it is the first time AFC Portchester have featured at this stage, the Wessex League division one side have grand designs to move on.

A Wembley appearance in May might be a little beyond them but they feel they possess the quality to put a few noses out of joint on their journey.

The history-making occasion will also see them christen their brand new pitch at Wicor Mill, which manager Glen Bridgman believes is another weapon in their armoury.

Portchester won 2-0 at

Cove in the last round and Bridgman believes Wessex League premier division Newport IOW won’t be relishing their trip across the Solent.

‘We won’t be overawed by the occasion because we see ourselves as a premier division team in everything but name,’ said Bridgman.

‘The hardest bit is getting out of division one which is more physical.

‘We definitely feel we are in with a shout, particularly having home advantage.

‘Our brand new pitch was laid down in the summer and the difference is unbelievable.

‘It is a beautiful, flat green surface which will suit the style we play.

‘This is a big day for the club which has come a long way since starting out in parks football.

‘It is a community club and we are expecting a large turn-out to get behind the team.

‘We have ambitions to progress as high as our finances will allow.

‘On the pitch we have started well, winning three of our opening four games and feel we are strong all over the park.

‘We lost 3-2 at Newport IOW in the Hampshire Senior Cup last year but have improved a lot since then.’

AFC Portchester have been boosted by the return of the talismanic Phil Turrell for their past three games after the central defender missed a year due to a broken leg.

The hosts are still without long-term casualty Nev Farley, though, who is out with a cruciate ligament injury.

AFC Portchester: Watson, Maddison, Hurrell, James, Woods, Howe, Pottage, Daniels, Ripner, Collis, Beddon, S Cooper, A Cooper, McGregor.

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