No kidding Fareham Heathens

Matt Smith in action for Fareham Heathens. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Matt Smith in action for Fareham Heathens. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Jack Barnard runs from inside his own 22 to set up a try for Daniel Hurry. Picture: Neil Marshall (171329-246)

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Darren Leggott is set to return from a groin injury. Picture: Neil Marshall (171321-212)

Pearce: Confident Portsmouth must show power

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Fareham Heathens travel to Bognor well aware of the threat the former London three hosts will pose.

The Sussex side are currently sitting second in the Hampshire one standings, with Heathens in sixth.

But while he does not underestimate the challenge, captain Dave Wheaton reckons the visitors have momentum on their side.

Wheaton, who is also Heathens’ assistant coach, said: ‘Once again we have been faced with availability challenges because of the school half-term week.

‘But we have built some momentum coming away with five points in our last two league outings.

‘Bognor away is, however, an altogether tougher challenge.’

Director of rugby Bernie Rhodes echoed those sentiments.

He added: ‘Bognor has always been a difficult place to go and get any form of result.

‘While we have managed to carve out a victory there before, we are under no illusions as to what it will take.

Matt Smith, the free-running back-row, hopes to continue his purple patch and James Whitfield becomes available for selection having had a week away.

The shape of the Heathens back line will be critical to success and with centre Tom Baxter unavailable, it leaves Rhodes and Wheaton with a headache.

‘Getting the balance of the side will be critical if we want to come away with points from this game,’ said the former.

‘On a positive note, we have used many players in the senior squad this season and everyone who has stepped up has done a great job for us.

‘Each week we have a balance of experience and youth that has been working well.’

Gosport & Fareham will try again to break their away hoodoo as they travel to Andover in London two south west.

The Gosport Park side have not won a league game on the road in more than two seasons.

Locks Heath Pumas return to Hampshire two action with the visit of Alton to Brookfield School (3pm).

Victory for the Pumas could see them leapfrog Southampton and Romsey into top spot.

Will Baker retains his place at hooker, while Chris Kitson and James Campbell return to the flanks.

Jon Barfoot gets his first start of the season at number eight with Nick DeStefano’s experience required at scrum-half.

Captain Joel Stocker moves to fly-half.