Gosport & Fareham’s London one south survival bid faces a massive test as they make the short journey to fellow strugglers Southampton Trojans (2.30pm).
Mark Wells’ side are third from bottom, just four points above their hosts, heading in to the vital game for both teams.
A win would allow Gosport & Fareham to put some daylight between them and the bottom two – but defeat would leave them deep in relegation trouble.
Wells is well aware of the importance of the local derby.
‘This one matters,’ said Wells.
‘There is a distinct gap opening up at the bottom and we definitely need to stay on the shirt tails of the teams immediately above us.
‘I should imagine both teams will go in to this one a little anxious.
‘It is important not to get cut adrift at the bottom and we must look to win at least two of our next four games.
‘If we can do that then we will give ourselves a good chance of survival going into the new year.’
There is mixed news for Wells going into the clash.
Four key players are unavailable – two because of a wedding – but he is delighted to have influential outside-half Sam Foster back.
Foster returns from his police duties and can have an influential part to play in his side’s fortunes.
‘Players have to realise if they want to stay at this level they have to be available,’ said Wells.
‘I am not a miracle worker.
‘I cannot make this locomotive go any faster without the necessary fuel, which means players turning up for training and being available to play.
‘We have not been able to field a consistent side this season and that has made a big difference.
‘If we can field a full-strength team we are capable of competing with most teams in our league.
‘At the moment we haven’t played well enough for long enough and that is why we are where we are.’
Gosport & Fareham: Duncombe, Thorne, J Whitehead, Jones, Wayne Dugan, Cleary, Herron, Foster, Wes Dugan, Flower, Westerman, Wood, Basher, Field, Madigan, Thompson, Barnes, D Whitehead , Burns, O’Donaghue.
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