Coach Mark Wells is expecting a ‘gutsy’ performance from Gosport & Fareham as they welcome Haywards Heath to Gosport Park for a London south one contest (3pm).
The home side have found life tough after last season’s promotion, losing their opening three games at the higher level.
Wells remains defiant his largely-youthful team will find their feet and survive at the higher level.
‘Sitting rock bottom after three games is an awful and unacceptable place to be,’ said Wells.
‘But things will get better.
‘We have learned a lot in the past three weeks and will improve.
‘There is a clear focus on getting the players better prepared and also to recruit new faces.
‘Our squad is extremely young and inexperienced but keen and we will stick together.
‘We face a Haywards Heath side established at this level and who had a good win against Trojans last week
‘We will respect them but this is a game we must look to win.
‘They will be surprised at how gutsy we will be for 80 minutes.’
Gos wait on the fitness of backs Wayne Dugan, Alex Heron and David Cleary and forward Nathan Titchener, all of whom were injured at Basingstoke last week.
Matt Flower hasn’t played yet this season, either.
Wells can also call on flanker Ben Madigan, centre Kieran McRoberts and full-back Ryan Thorne who were all unavailable last week.
Alhough beaten 53-0 at Basingstoke, Wells’ side played more than half the game with 14 players due to injuries and the coach was encouraged by a number of aspects.
Gosport & Fareham accept it will be a difficult season but they are determined to stick to their principles.
‘The aim is not only to survive but, at the same time, put in place something which is sustainable,’ said Wells.
‘We could easily go out and buy in a few overseas players but that won’t serve anybody any good.
‘The focus is building for the next five years, continuing to work hard to stay and provide opportunities for players within the community to play at the highest level possible.
‘It will mean bringing players through our own systems and helping develop their skills and ability.
‘There is no way we want Gosport & Fareham to become a “boom and bust” rugby club.
‘We have to be able to maintain our developments over a long-term.’
Gosport & Fareham (from): Cameron Brew,
Alex Duncombe, Gareth Jones, Sam Foster,
Kieran McRoberts, Alex Heron, David Cleary,
Ryan Thorne, Vetaia Veiteve, Wayne Dugan, Ash Burton, Joey Clark, Dai Whitehead, Nathan Titchener, Trevor Westerman, Mark Pollard, Matt Smith, Ben Madigan,
Tim Snowden, John Field, Chris Thompson, Matt Flower.