Portsmouth determined to down Trojans on D-Day

112783-19_MY_portsmouth_rugby'Rugby Camp'Portsmouth v Chichester.'Luke Richardson's progress comes to halt.'Pic Mick Young'10/09/11

112783-19_MY_portsmouth_rugby'Rugby Camp'Portsmouth v Chichester.'Luke Richardson's progress comes to halt.'Pic Mick Young'10/09/11

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Portsmouth are gearing up for relegation D-Day.

The Rugby Camp outfit must net a home win over Dover to have any hope of keeping their London one south status tomorrow (3pm).

To seal the escape from the drop, Portsmouth will also need second-placed Old Elthamians to crush Trojans on home turf.

Ian Chandler’s men currently sit in the final relegation spot – three points behind their Southampton-based rivals.

And the head coach admits his men have little margin for error in the crunch clash.

‘We will have to be precise and play as well as we have done all season,’ said Chandler.

‘Dover are coming to us under no pressure as they are already safe.

‘They are a reasonable side, so we will need to offer them as little encouragement as possible.

‘We will have to hold our nerve and may need to be patient.

‘I don’t expect the game to be won in the first 20 minutes but we must let Dover know they are in a game.

‘It is important that we impose ourselves from the start, showing we mean business.

‘We have the quality and ability in the squad to do that but now it is all about producing the goods.’

Portsmouth’s league campaign has been badly hit by injury and unavailability.

And Chandler finds it no different going into the decisive game.

The half-back pairing of scrum-half Charlie Cutler (back) and outside-half Dan Neville (work) have not been able to train all week.

Meanwhile, Chandler has five first-choice forwards sidelined through injury.

Matt Peters, Rhys Bowen, Darren Crabb, Luke Richardson and Richard Farmer are all ruled out.

‘That has been the story of our season,’ said Chandler.

‘Our five missing forwards are as good as there are in our league.

‘The players who have come in have done well, though, and got us into a position where we still have a chance.’

One area Portsmouth will need to tighten up is their defence.

Recently, they have dropped off first-up tackles, allowing opponents to get in behind them.

They can’t afford to make the same mistakes against Dover and Chandler believes it will be a key area.

‘Our ability to defend around the fringes and stop the Dover runners will decide it,’ he said.

‘We want to remain in this league because both Gosport & Fareham and Havant are coming into it next season.

‘We have to go out and do our job and hope Old Elthamians do the same against Trojans.’

Portsmouth: Barnes, Fraser, Richards, Chandler, Gronow, Neville, Cutler, Cripps, Hoolihan, Hankey, French, Lynch, Giguel, Long, J Crabb, Omead, Goldsmith, Carpenter

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