Miles Rutherford has written off both Moneyfields and Petersfield Town in the race for the Wessex League premier division title.
Table-toppers Moneys travel to second-place Petersfield at Love Lane tonight (7.45pm) bidding to maintain their one-point advantage over Ian Saunders’ men.
But despite impressive openings to the campaign, visiting boss Rutherford does not believe either side has the strength in depth to be considered as title challengers.
Saunders, though, is of a different mindset and although accepting his side have ‘exceeded expectations’ to challenge in the early standings, has stated his belief that opponents Moneys are the best team in the league.
Rutherford said: ‘It’s a top-two clash but I don’t think either side will be winning the league.
‘The league is very open this year and we’ve seen there is a chance if anyone can get some consistency.
‘But looking ahead, I don’t think Moneyfields or Petersfield have big enough squads at the moment to continue what they have done so far in the season.
‘It’s not something that is unachievable, both sides could do very well but need to find that consistency.
‘Petersfield got beaten by Fareham (1-0) in the FA Vase at the weekend and we were poor in our defeat to Bemerton (3-2).
‘Sometimes you listen to people say how good you are and you come unstuck – maybe that is what hit us.’
Petersfield boss Saunders, who saw his side’s impressive 12-game winning run come to an end in the 1-0 FA Vase loss at rivals Fareham on Saturday, has differing opinions.
Despite recently playing down talk of his side achieving back-to-back promotions, the Rams manager believes opponents Moneys will provide their toughest test of the season so far.
Saunders said: ‘We’re in a blessed position that we’re at the top.
‘Moneyfields knocked us off last week.
‘But we’ve exceeded my expectations so far.
‘That’s certainly the case for the club, too, but we’ve enjoyed it.
‘I’ve watched Moneyfields and they are by far the best team I’ve seen at our level this year – by far.
‘I can’t give them a greater accolade than that really.
‘Miles has been around for a long time and he has assembled a good side.
‘They play the way they play and it is very effective.’
In-form Moneys striker Alfie Rutherford is available for selection despite being sent off in the FA Vase defeat at Bemerton.
The Rams will replace Moneys at the top if they win but are without Jason Silver (hamstring), Robbie Tambling (shoulder) and suspended skipper Alex Ward.
Elsewhere, Horndean travel to Lymington Town for an FA Vase replay following the 1-1 draw at Five Heads Park on Saturday.
Key trio Gary Austin, Lewis Stockford and Alex Shephard return for the Deans.
Assistant boss Gary Lines said: ‘We are confident of going there and getting the job done.’
Fareham Town travel to Bemerton, in the Wessex league premier division, looking to build on their FA Vase victory over Petersfield.