Scott Ashley has warned his Gosport & Fareham squad that now is when life gets tough in London two south west.
Coach Ashley’s hard-working side have gone through the first half of the season unbeaten and top the league standings.
However, they face a difficult start to 2014 with a derby at Trojans, who are easily capable of upsetting their visitors.
‘We must look to pick up where we left off before the two-week Christmas break,’ said Ashley.
‘It won’t be easy, though, because Trojans will pose a threat.
‘The pitch is likely to be heavy and we are expecting the game to be a bit of a slog.
‘This is the time of year when the playing conditions can push the players to the limit.
‘The next six weeks is a period when the league can be won or lost so players have to adapt to the wet, heavy pitches.
‘It will be a case of grinding out results with heavy legs.
‘Hopefully, our players will come back from their break hungry to get started again.
‘Another important factor will be having strength in depth where players can come in for others who are injured or unavailable.
‘We believe we have an increased strength in that area and have players who can step up to the plate.
‘It might all boil down to commitment and this year we believe we have that.’
It looks likely to be a two-horse race between Gosport and Guildford for the title, with little margin for error.
The two teams have been neck and neck all season, with Ashley’s side edging it following a home win over the Surrey side.
Gosport still have to visit Guildford and Ashley would love them to do that with their unbeaten record intact.
In Hampshire two, leaders Fareham Heathens will have to be at their best to beat hosts Ventnor.
Petersfield travel to Chineham ready to capitalise if Heathens should slip up.
The visitors secured a place in the quarter-finals of the Hampshire Plate by beating Southampton before the Christmas break.
Southsea Nomads entertain strugglers Stoneham at Furze Lane.