Havant bid to extend impressive form

Pol Soms Irazola. Picture: Mick Young
Pol Soms Irazola. Picture: Mick Young
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Merijn van Willigen has urged his Havant side to turn up the pressure on league leaders Cardiff Met ahead of their home clash with Birmingham University on Sunday.

Havant brushed aside Isca 3-1 last time out and have suffered defeat just once this term in their opening game.

The head coach believes his men are ahead of schedule but must now make the most of their momentum.

‘We’re not doing too badly. It’s taken us a little bit by surprise to be where we are,’ said van Willigen.

‘We’re probably doing better than I expected at this stage.

‘Now we’re into a bit of a winning habit and it creates a bit of a buzz around the place.

‘There is a different feel to the whole squad, even in training.

‘It’s a nice position to be in at the moment but we can’t afford to let this slip.

‘Our run-in to the mid-season break in November is very tough.

‘We play Cardiff, Exeter and Bath, so the better we can do now, the better we will be going into that period.

‘But we need to make a few teams a bit nervous.

‘Cardiff have a game in hand but we are level on points.’

Havant have been fortunate with continuity of selection so far this season, which has been a key factor in their four-match unbeaten streak.

And while van Willigen is looking for experience in his side up against young opponents, he doesn’t envisage making sweeping changes to his team.

He said: ‘We’ve done well but we may go with a bit more experience up against a young and talented side.

‘There certainly won’t be any massive changes, though.’

Meanwhile, Ben Hibberd is ruled out of the trip to Team Bath Buccaneers through work commitments as Fareham bid to get back to winning ways.

Hibberd, who scored twice in the 5-3 home defeat to Exeter University last week, has been one the club’s key performers so far.

But influential midfielder James Seagar and James Rawlings return to action.

Fareham coach Ben Barnes said: ‘Ben’s goals have been invaluable.

‘Of course, we will miss the goals that Ben has scored and his overall contribution to the team.

‘But it will give others the opportunity to step up so it’s up to others to step up and fill the void.’