Gosport warn Chichester to expect a battle

Gosport & Fareham's Chris Thompson. Picture: Paul Jacobs (123108-7)
Gosport & Fareham's Chris Thompson. Picture: Paul Jacobs (123108-7)
Gosport and Fareham on the attack in their win over Farnham / Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Backs-to-wall effort sees Gosport hold what they have

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Gosport & Fareham are aiming to cause a London one south upset against high-flying Chichester at Gosport Park tomorrow (2.30pm).

Stand-in coach Scott Ashley – taking charge with Mark Wells away – believes his side are capable of surprising the second-placed outfit and getting a positive result.

Gosport occupy the third relegation spot and know that every point is vital in their bid to stay up.

And Ashley has warned Chichester they will be in for a game.

‘We are not going to just roll over for them,’ said Ashley.

‘In our situation every point is critical and we will go into the game looking to add to our tally.

‘If Chichester prove stronger than us then we will aim to limit them because points deficit could prove important at the end of the season.’

After a poor start to the season, Gosport have recovered to give themselves every chance of survival.

There is a definite split in the league and Ashley believes up to seven clubs, including Havant, will battle it out to avoid relegation.

The race is on to finish top of that mini-league at the bottom end of the table.

A recent win over fellow strugglers Southampton Trojans gave Gosport a welcome boost and next weekend’s derby against Havant could also prove crucial.

‘We are getting stronger as the season progresses,’ said Ashley

‘At the start, for a number of reasons, we weren’t where we should have been after making the step up.

‘I think for some people it proved a bit of a physical and a culture shock.

‘We have made a fundamental change since then and started to settle down.

‘Now we are very much a small fish in a big pond and the aim is to consolidate and build for the future.

‘Staying in this league is important but it is still very much a learning curve for us.’

Chichester will certainly present the home side with a stern test and Ashley knows his more experienced players like Chris ‘Sumo’ Thompson, and brothers Wes and Wayne Dugan will have vital roles to play.

The visitors possess a powerful pack of forwards and Gosport are ready to put in a serious shift to ensure they give the favourites no opportunity to take a stranglehold on the game.

‘We need to take them on and hold them up front,’ said Ashley.

‘Chichester also possess a sting in their tail so our defence will need to be good.

‘It is my job to make sure we go into the game with a positive attitude.

‘Upsets happen – just look at Havant beating Wimbledon last week – and we must look to cause one.’