Gosport & Fareham target ‘psychological advantage’

Matt Smith carries the ball. Picture: Malcolm Wells (13959-6840)
Matt Smith carries the ball. Picture: Malcolm Wells (13959-6840)
Dave Wheaton and the Fareham Heathens. Picture: Neil Marshall (171152-317)

Double trouble for heroic Heathens

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Scott Ashley is backing his Gosport & Fareham side to show the bravery needed in their titanic top-of-the-table clash against Guildford at Gosport Park.

Both teams are unbeaten and only points difference separates the pair at the top of London two south west.

The hosts currently head the table and are determined not to surrender their advantage.

Ashley is predicting a tight contest with the spoils going to the side who show the greater bravery on the day.

He is convinced his squad possesses the right qualities and mental resilience to come through their sternest test to date.

‘This is a massive game for both teams,’ said the Gosport & Fareham head coach.

‘We are both 13 points clear at the top and the winner of this game will get a big psychological advantage.

‘I have no doubt it will be a close, hard-fought affair in front of a vociferous crowd.

‘We are at home and have to make sure we make the most of that.

‘It will be vital we are in the zone – as a team – from the start and remain focused.

‘The result could all hinge on who displays the most control and bravery over the 80 minutes.’

Gosport have bounced back from last season’s London one south relegation in the best possible fashion.

Ashley admits his team probably underestimated how big a step up it was but feels there is a new attitude at the club.

Unlike last season, player unavailability is not a problem.

That means Gosport have been able to field a consistent side. And Ashley is once again optimistic he can field his strongest squad for the big game tomorrow.

‘I am sure both teams will be nervous,’ he said.

‘We know Guildford are a good team who play a very controlled game and are strong in the set-piece.

‘It is up to us to be wise to that, deal with it and play to our own strengths.

‘All season we have shown good ability to switch from defence to attack and vice-versa very quickly.

‘We have shown good consistency with our blend of youth and experience.

‘This will be a huge learning experience for the young players and a lot of responsibility will fall on the shoulders of our more experienced guys.

‘It will be up to the likes of Matt Smith, Chris Thompson, Sam Foster and the Dugan brothers – Wes and Wayne – to keep us on the straight and narrow.

‘Great defence has been a feature of our game and we must look to remain water tight again.

‘The league title won’t be decided this weekend but both teams know that this game will provide a huge pointer.’