Portchester made to do it the hard way

Portchester's Jamie Musselwhite

Portchester's Jamie Musselwhite

Hawks boss Lee Bradbury

Early starts for Hawks and Moneys

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AFC Portchester are targeting another FA Cup upset as they travel to Southern League Cirencester in the first-qualifying round.

It’s the furthest the Wicor Mill club have ever reached in the competition, having been forced to do it the hard way.

They have been drawn away in every single round so far but have seen off Team Solent, Godalming Town and Horndean.

The 1-0 win at Godalming shows they are capable of surprising Southern League teams.

Portchester are also unbeaten in their last nine games, so travel in a buoyant mood.

Graham Rix said: ‘This is a massive game for the club and one we are excited about. It will be tough, though, because they are a big, strong, experienced side.

‘We showed at Godalming we can defend well and I am expecting a similar sort of game.

‘Our two centre-backs, Craig Hardy and Dan Audin, have probably been our two most consistent players.

‘They have worked hard and are fitter than they have ever been – but the absence of Hardy due to suspension is a blow.

‘However, all the players who have come in have put in a good shift.

‘All I want us to do is make sure that we give a good show of ourselves.

‘There is a good spirit running through our club and it is a good place to be at the moment.’

Portchester warmed up for the tie with a 3-2 Wessex League premier division win at Christchurch in midweek.

Goals from Lewis Stockford, Danny Thompson and Nathan Kirby put them in command before the home side hit back with two late deflected efforts.

Jamie Musselwhite remains a doubt for Portchester after he came off early during the win over Christchurch.

The tie at Cirencester has caught the imagination of the Portchester community.

There is a full 52-seater supporters’ coach making the journey.

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