Havant have called on the experience of Steve Cruddas for their battle with CS Rugby 1863 at Hooks Lane on Saturday (2.30pm).
The forward, who has played nearly 250 league games for the club, comes into the back row for the London one south showdown.
Havant could leapfrog their second-placed visitors with a bonus-point win on home turf.
And head coach Will Knight reckons the extra nous of Cruddas could prove crucial in what he believes is a pivotal clash.
He said: ‘Steve has vast experience of playing in games like these.
‘When he plays he always gives us a lot. He brings an extra dimension of experience which is important when you have a youngish pack.’
Havant are looking to bounce back from the disappointment of defeat at leaders Medway last weekend.
For the second successive game they were guilty of a slow start – allowing their opponents to race into a big lead early on.
At Tottonians the previous week, they managed to claw their way back to win.
It was too much at Medway, although they did finish within a score of their rivals.
Knight knows his team cannot afford a repeat against a team of the quality of CS Rugby.
‘We know CS Rugby have invested well in their squad and have been putting teams to the sword,’ said Knight.
‘It is going to be a tough match. In our last two games we have not started well and let our opponents get away.
‘To be fair, though, we have not had that problem at home.
‘With the league positions as they are, in some ways this is a pivotal game.
‘It is not about where CS Rugby are in the table but more about where we want to be.
‘If we want to be top of the league then we have to beat the teams above us.
‘That is the clinical level of thinking we need going into games.
‘We are reaching the point in the season where we have to make sure we are not one of the teams dropping too many points.
‘Our home form is outstanding. We have not been beaten at Hooks Lane since the start of last season.’
Havant make two changes in their front-row – with Elliot Bellman and Armundus Morgan coming in as the prop forwards.
Cruddas reappears on the open side with Dan Porter at blind-side wing forward.
In the three-quarters, Loz Blackburn replaces the injured Jake Hewitt on one wing with Jay Wilks occupying the other flank.
‘It is up to us to find our best shape and put them under pressure from the start,’ added Knight.