Havant eye maiden win over fellow strugglers

Harry O'Brien, right. Picture: Mick Young (133407-06)

Harry O'Brien, right. Picture: Mick Young (133407-06)

Darren Bamford's hat-trick wasn't enough for Havant against Sidcup. Picture: Kieth Woodland

Havant coach positive despite play-off misery

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HAVANT head coach Will Knight has called on his side to end their winless start to the season against Charlton Park at Hooks Lane tomorrow (3pm).

The hosts remain without a victory to their name in London one south but will take encouragement from an agonising 20-19 loss at league-leaders Sidcup last time out.

The basement boys fought back from a 20-7 deficit inside the final 10 minutes to send an absorbing game of rugby down to the wire.

And Knight is now targeting the scalp of fellow early-season strugglers Charlton Park – who recorded their first success of the campaign against Hove last weekend – as the first step on their journey up the table.

‘We are looking to get a win every week but Charlton Park are obviously down at the bottom of the league with us,’ said Knight.

‘We have to target the games against those teams in the bottom half if we are going to be putting ourselves into a stronger position in the league.

‘We’ve got to deliver the performance that will close out the game.

‘We have played two of the top three sides in the league (Sidcup and Chobham) and lost to both of them by less than a score, so that gives us an indication of what we are capable of.

‘But we’ve got to find the consistency and the clinical finishing that allows us to finish a team off.

‘We know Charlton Park are going to be a strong team – they’ve got a very good pack and so we will have to match their fire with our fire.

‘They, like us, have had a difficult start but earned a very good win against Hove, so it’s not going to be any kind of easy game.

‘We will have to make sure we are absolutely on the money to get the result we are after.’

Knight’s side have enjoyed a good week of training in the build up to tomorrow’s crucial clash.

And the Havant boss believes there are a number of reasons for his players to be motivated ahead of the visit of Charlton Park – not least the form showed by the club’s second and third strings.

He said: ‘We had an excellent physical training session on Tuesday night and there were very good numbers there.

‘The boys have responded and there is a feeling within the group that they are going in the right direciton.

‘The Dolphins – our second team – are unbeaten in their merit table this season, as are the third team, so there are a lot of players who are starting to push for places.

‘Not only was there the motivation from a much-improved performance on Saturday but also the guys understand there are players breathing down their necks for first-team places.

‘What we have said all season is that nobody has a guarantee of a place.

‘If players are playing well in the second team then they will step up into the first team, which has happened on a number of occasions already this season.

‘That’s something we are very happy to do and, similarly, if players are not performing in the first team, they will be dropped and that’s the way it has to be.

‘It’s a healthy position for any club to be in.’

Joe Davis returns to the starting line-up at second row for Havant, having been unavailable for last weekend’s narrow loss at Sidcup.

Harry O’Brien (outside centre) and James Sutton (winger) will both make their first starts of the season for the hosts.

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