Home comforts key for Gosport & Fareham

Mark Jones, right. Picture: Malcolm Wells (13959-6837)
Mark Jones, right. Picture: Malcolm Wells (13959-6837)
Sam Foster

Pickett: Gosport & Fareham must end travel pain

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Gosport & Fareham are hoping for some home comforts as they welcome London one south strugglers Cobham to Gosport Park (3pm).

Both the club’s victories this season have been in front of their home fans – while they are still to pick up a point on their travels.

Coach Neil McRoberts is hoping his troops rise to the occasion now they are back in front of their home fans.

Victory will help Gosport & Fareham ease clear of the relegation scrap at the foot of the table.

However, he has warned the hosts not to expect an easy ride against the division’s bottom club.

‘We must look to get points on the board as quickly as possible so we can stay away from the bottom three,’ said McRoberts.

‘Cobham might be bottom but reports suggest their performances have been better than their results.

‘I am expecting a difficult game and we have to make sure we start well.

‘We did that against Dover in our last home game and ended up with a good win.’

McRoberts is boosted by the return of three key players.

Prop forward Mark Jones is available for the first time since his return from New Zealand with the Royal Navy squad.

Powerful-runner Jordan Humphreys returns at full-back and Mark Pollard is back in the second row after missing the last game.

‘Against Guildford we started slowly and we can’t afford a repeat of that,’ said McRoberts.

‘We need to get on the front foot early and impose our game on Cobham.

‘Then, if there is any defending to do, we can do it without having to chase the game.’

Elsewhere, unbeaten Fareham Heathens face their toughest Hampshire one test yet with a trip to powerful Fordingbridge.

Locks Heath Pumas coach Jim Pearce has a number of influential players back for their Hampshire two visit to Kingsclere.

The return of scrum-half Nick De Stefano and number eight Jon Barfoot will add strength and experience.

Fly-half Ben Chambers is ruled out, though.

‘Kingsclere are an unknown quantity, having just come back into the league,’ said Pearce.

‘I’m sure their results do not give a real reflection of their commitment and we have to be ready to go out and battle for a win.

‘My worry is after three wins and sitting at the top of the table, my boys will become complacent and think things will just happen.

‘We cannot rest on our laurels and have to go out and keep fighting.

‘That starts by putting the hard work in off the field, which we have lacked of late.

‘With no disrespect, we have not played any of the teams we would expect to be around the top of the league.

‘So we need to keep ahead of the game.

‘And we must keep working hard to play the best rugby we can.’