Portsmouth told to step up to move up

Gareth Richards in action for Portsmouth during their win over Chobham in October

Gareth Richards in action for Portsmouth during their win over Chobham in October

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Portsmouth head coach Ian Chandler has told his players they must raise their game as they visit London two south west leaders Chobham.

The Hilsea-based club returned to winning ways with a 12-3 win over Camberley last weekend but it was far from convincing against the basement team.

The victory kept Portsmouth within 13 points of second-placed Sutton & Epsom, with two games in hand.

Promotion remains an ambition for the Rugby Camp side but they cannot afford many more losses if they are to return to London one south at the first attempt.

Chandler knows his team will have to show a big improvement if they are to topple their hosts tomorrow.

‘Our forwards were magnificent against Camberley but we didn’t make the best use of our possession,’ he said.

‘Every time we worked ourselves into good positions we were guilty of giving penalties away which let them escape.

‘We were guilty of poor decision-making and we won’t be able to afford that if we want to get anything from this game tomorrow.’

Chandler added: ‘The positives, though, included a good work ethic and excellent defence.

‘Camberley played a lot of the game in our territory but we restricted them to one successful kick at goal.

‘After two thumping defeats, the important thing was we got back to winning ways.

‘If we play like that against Chobham, though, we could end up getting thumped.’

When the two sides met earlier in the season Portsmouth ran out 28-23 winners at Rugby Camp.

The next few weeks are crucial for Portsmouth in their bid to catch the sides ahead of them, with matches against two promotion rivals in Old Reigatians and Sutton & Epsom still to come.

United Services Portsmouth travel to New Milton & District, looking to revive their faint Hampshire one promotion hopes.

Two successive defeats have severely dented Services’ ambitions. And if they are to get back on track they will have to do it the hard way against the league leaders.

Petersfield are hoping to post back-to-back wins for the first time this season as they visit bottom club Aldershot & Fleet.

The Penns Place side gave themselves a massive boost of confidence with an impressive 26-0 success over Southampton last weekend – which was only their second triumph of the season.

Petersfield scored four tries and picked up a bonus point, suggesting they could be turning their season around.

Fareham Heathens have been badly hit by unavailability ahead of their visit to Chineham.

‘We have over half our senior players unavailable for one reason or another,’ said Heathens manager Chris Lee.

‘It is a massive disappointment, after putting strong sides out in recent weeks had seen us produce vastly-improved performances.’

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