Test for Royals... Stone fears worst... Moneys eye double

Steve Ramsey
Steve Ramsey
Baffins Milton Rovers found it tough against Portland. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Birmingham: Deans very mature... Baffins hit for six... Round-up

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AFC Portchester start a testing period with a demanding Wessex League premier division trip to Sholing Sports (3pm).

Manager Graham Rix insists his players will need to shine if they are to maintain their promotion push.

They have lots of difficult matches coming up.

‘Our squad will earn their corn in the next few weeks starting at Sholing,’ said Rix.

‘Sholing are a top team and it is never an easy place to get a result.

‘We follow that with a couple of trips to the Isle of Wight and tough games against Horndean and Team Solent.

‘It is a good job that we have built up a sizeable squad because we will need it.

‘When you have to play three times a week on a regular basis it gives you extra options.

‘Our priority at the moment is to keep more clean sheets, particularly in tight games because we are always likely to nick a goal.

‘I can’t complain too much, though, because we have only been beaten once in the league during 2016.’

The Royals are without centre-half Gary Moody because of a knee injury.

Alex Lowley and Steve Ramsey are also injury doubts.

Fareham Town will try again to stage their first home game in nearly five months with Brockenhurst the visitors to Cams Alders (3pm).

Manager Steve Stone is doubtful it will take place, though.

He feels the bad weather earlier this week will put paid to any chance of the match being on.

‘Our game was called off last week 40 minutes before kick-off and that was after we had four dry sunny days,’ said Stone.

‘With the amount of rain we have had this week the pitch is unlikely to be any better.

‘We look set to be playing four games a week for the last six weeks of the season.

‘That just makes it all a lottery.’

Horndean will look to revive their top three ambitions by winning at midtable Whitchurch United (3pm).

Moneyfields will need to be at their best if they are to surprise second-placed Blackfield & Langley at Dover Road (3pm).

Manager Dave Carter believes his side can stun their visitors for the second time this season.

‘We beat them 1-0 at their place and have been playing well enough,’ said Carter.

The home side are boosted by the return of striker Gary Austin from suspension.