Teams must keep focus in derby heat

Sam Broadhurst wins the ball for Havant against Hamble. Picture: Mick Young
Sam Broadhurst wins the ball for Havant against Hamble. Picture: Mick Young
fareham's James Evans, right. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Merijn van Willigen has told his side not to get caught up in the derby day hype ahead of their home clash with Fareham in the Men’s National League conference west on Sunday (2pm).

Havant will be looking to get back to winning ways after the Christmas break and rectify their poor recent form, having lost five and drawn one of their past six games.

Van Willigen believes his men must keep their focus.

He said: ‘It’s always exciting to play in local derbies.

‘But going into the fixture, a lot is made of it that would not usually surround other fixtures.

‘It is important to stay focused and concentrate on playing good hockey – and to treat the game the same as any other.’

Havant will go into the derby at full strength.

Van Willigen said: ‘Ollie Nail was nursing a knock over the break but has played a couple of games for the seconds and will be available for the weekend.

‘So we will have no concerns with injuries.’

After a strong start to the campaign Havant found themselves as high as second in the league standings.

But a run of poor results now sees them in sixth place in the table – in need of a victory this weekend.

And Van Willigen has targeted a strong finish to the season.

The Havant head coach added: ‘Our aim is to climb the table in the second part of the campaign and get to the summer having finished in a strong league position.

‘Hopefully, we can use that as a springboard to aim to get into the Premier League in future campaigns.’

Fareham will also be looking for a strong start after the winter break.

They have lost their past three games and have gone five matches without a win, as they sit in seventh place.

Head coach Steve Lemon is eager for the game go-ahead.

‘The boys are looking forward to getting going again,’ said Lemon.

‘We have a few players returning who were not available before Christmas.

‘Havant is always a tough game but, hopefully, we can pull it out of the bag and come out on top.’

And the Fareham coach is hoping to see the team gather momentum in 2014.

‘Our first aim is to secure our future in this division,’ added Lemon.

‘Once safety is secured, we will look at pushing on up into the top half of the table.’

The game will take place at Havant College.