Fareham aim to strike back

Fareham coach Nigel Cook
Fareham coach Nigel Cook
Katie Spooner is aiming high for City of Portsmouth Ladies. Picture: Keith Woodland

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Fareham are aiming to bounce back from three straight defeats when they travel to Cheltenham on Sunday (12.30pm).

Nigel Cook’s men sit just one place above the England Hockey League men’s conference west relegation zone.

And the coach is expecting a physical challenge from the hosts after the reverse fixture ended in a 3-2 win for Cheltenham.

‘We’re in a situation now where any point is absolutely crucial.’ said Cook.

‘We were very unlucky to not come away with something from our last game against Bath (5-4 defeat).

‘But we gained some momentum by scoring four goals.’

Fareham have a few injury concerns ahead of the contest.

Among the missing men is Alex Bennett. However, they are very hopeful Craig Sims will be passed fit.

With Cheltenham in the relative comfort of mid-table – only five points above Fareham – the game should be close.

Cook is expecting a high-velocity clash, with both sides desperate for the points.

But he remains confident his side can prevail.

‘We can be a little bit more clever than we were in the first meeting,’ added Cook.

‘We need to work them a little bit more.’

Elsewhere in men’s conference west, Fareham’s south-coast rivals Havant will travel to Stourport tomorrow.

The Havant College-based side are returning to action after their Christmas break.

And they are currently sitting in fourth place with 13 points to their name.

They were last seen drawing 1-1 with Guilford in November and prior to that, Havant shared an eight-goal thriller with Fareham.

With those past two results yielding just two points, though, Havant will be determined to get back to winning ways against Stourport. And they will be encouraged by their hosts’ record this term.

With no win in nine matches, Stourport are rock bottom with just three points and look increasingly like favourites for relegation this term.