Dave Carter rates Horndean’s third-round FA Vase tie against Bemerton Heath Harlequins tomorrow as the biggest game in the club’s history (3pm).
If the Deans triumph it will be the furthest they have ever progressed in the national knockout competition – and will earn £1,500 for the club coffers.
‘It is a massive occasion for the club and we would love to get into the next round when it goes national,’ said the Five Heads Park boss.
‘Unfortunately, we are badly hit by suspensions and injuries which is a pain in the backside.
‘However, it gives some of the fringe players a chance and sometimes they give you a bit more because they are out to prove themselves.
‘We are at home and Bemerton won’t relish coming to play on our pitch.
‘It will be a scrap but we have already beaten them once this season in the league at their place.’
Powerful striker Chamal Fenelon, on-loan Hawks youngster Joe Noakes and fellow defender Tom Chapman are all suspended.
Alex Shepherd and Neil Perkins are both injured, while Dan Hayes faces a fitness test on his knee.
One glimmer of light for Carter is the return of centre-back Kev Chatfield from suspension and the reappearance of experienced goalkeeper Simon Howard after unavailability.
Howard played in the 2-1 Hampshire Senior Cup defeat against AFC Totton where the Wessex League premier division side acquitted themselves well against their Southern League hosts.
‘We played some excellent football and must look to raise our game again for the Vase tie,’ said Carter.
‘On our day we have shown we can beat anyone but at the same time we have also lost games against teams we shouldn’t have.
‘It will be about who wants it most on the day.
‘If we are in the right frame of mind and all the players give it everything then we will give ourselves every chance.’
In the Wessex League premier division, AFC Portchester host Christchurch at Wicor Mill.
Fareham travel to lowly Hamworthy United.