Benfield may make return for determined Portsmouth & Southsea

Matt Benfield might be back early from his injury
Matt Benfield might be back early from his injury
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Depleted Portsmouth & Southsea are determined to remain positive as they face a trip to Southern League division three leaders Fair Oak on Saturday.

The visitors are badly hit by unavailability and may be forced to include the injured Matt Benfield.

He has been ruled out by ankle ligament problems.

Benfield will face a late fitness test before deciding whether he is fit to play or not.

It certainly won’t be ideal if he has to come back a bit sooner than expected.

But he has a plan to hopefully make it possible.

He said: ‘I have missed three weeks and the situation is not ideal.

'Another weeks rest would have been good but with players missing I may have to play.

'If I play I'll keep wicket to minimise the running around and then bat in the middle order.'

The visitors are without Rob Wigley, Jake Peach and Ollie Kanavan.

They are hoping to avoid a repeat of the batting collapse that saw them lose to Gosport Borough.

After bowling Borough out for 91 the home side crumbled like a pack of cards.

Benfield added: 'Against Gosport our scorecard looked like a phone number.

'We only needed someone to get a 30 and a couple of others to reach 20 but we failed.

'This summer we don't seem to be able to win at home.

'It is just as well our game is at Fair Oak.'

Benfield accepts Portsmouth & Southsea still need wins to secure their status.

The gap between the bottom clubs has reduced, leaving them looking nervously over their shoulders.

He added: 'If the teams below start picking up wins and we don't we could easily find ourselves in a relegation battle.’

Gosport Borough make one change as Bashley (Rydal) visit Privett Park. Simon Creal replaces the unavailable Craig Stares.

On Sunday Gosport are at Sparsholt in the quarter-finals of the T20 Plate knockout.

Hambledon are aiming to avoid a third-successive defeat as they welcome relegation-battling Havant to Ridge Meadow.

Mid-table Purbrook travel to face basement-club Lymington II in the New Forest.

Purbrook also visit premier division St Cross Symondians on Sunday in the quarter-finals of the T20 knockout.