Gosport Borough boss Alex Pike has challenged his team to keep their first clean sheet of the summer when they travel to Southern League Redditch United tomorrow (3pm).
In midweek, Borough drew 1-1 at Fleet Town – their fourth pre-season game in a row where they have conceded.
An ability to shut out the opposition will be vital when the Privett Park side step up to Conference South level next month.
But Pike believes his team still have enough time on their hands to iron out any defensive problems before their season opener against Dover on August 17.
‘We are a work in progress at the moment but still have a couple more weeks,’ said Pike.
‘It would be nice to keep a clean sheet.
‘There are lots of reasons why we haven’t and it is never easy when you chop and change during games.
‘Despite that, I want to see us defend better as a team unit.
‘In midfield we need to be more creative and our forwards need to make more of their opportunities in the final third.
‘Apart from that everything is fine.’
Borough are repaying a favour to Redditch when they travel to the midlands.
As the Southern League premier division promotion race hotted up last season, Pike promised to do tomorrow’s hosts a good turn if they took points off Gosport’s play-off chasing rivals Barwell.
‘They held Barwell to a draw and took two points off them to help our cause,’ said Pike.
‘I am a man of my word and we are going there to keep the promise.
‘It will also do us good to come up against a Southern League team that has a new manager who has strengthened the team. The trip will also help the squad bonding process ahead of the start of the league campaign.’
Dan Wooden is still missing because of a knee injury picked up in the opening friendly at Blackfield & Langley.
Pike, however, expects to have Jamie Brown and Luke King back from holiday.
Borough continue their preparations against Pompey at Privett Park on Tuesday night.
Then Pike faces his own big match next Friday when he gets married.
Meanwhile, Moneyfields entertain Ryman League Met Police in an attractive friendly at Dover Road (3pm).
Manager Miles Rutherford is hoping his squad can make the most of their final opportunity before their Wessex League premier division opener at Winchester City on August 3.
‘We have had a poor pre-season due to injuries and holidays,’ said Rutherford.
‘I am hoping it will all come right for us when we start with a difficult league opener at Winchester.’
The Copnor club are delighted to have star striker Steve Hutchings back from Australia but he is missing again due to work commitments in Jersey.
Fareham Town visit Sussex League side Wick expecting an easier time of it after their 6-1 midweek defeat at the hands of the Hawks.
After a gruelling first half at Westleigh Park, in which they conceded five goals, the Reds stuck to their task and worked hard.
They restricted the Hawks to just one more goal and grabbed a consolation through Wayne Boud.
AFC Portchester and Horndean are at home against Liphook and Midhurst respectively.