AFC Portchester looking for a lift as derby loss and two cup exits have ‘sapped’ confidence
AFC Portchester are looking for a lift as they make the long trip to fellow high-fliers Portland United in the Wessex Premier.
Mick Catlin is keen to see his side turn their fortunes around after suffering three successive defeats.
The Royals have lost an El Creekio derby to Fareham, crashed out of the FA Vase to lower division opposition and on Wednesday were dumped out of the Portsmouth Senior Cup by three divisions lower Denmead on penalties.
The two teams are level on points with the third-placed Dorset side - Wessex champions in 2017 after Moneyfields had points deducted - above their visitors on goal difference.
Catlin needs his team to show more character in what is expected to be a tough encounter.
'We have had a bit of a torrid time lately,' he said. 'There is a need to steady the ship with a good result.
'Portland are right up there with us so it is not going to be easy
'I need my players to show a bit more character than they have in the last few games.
'It is important that we come back with something.
'Sometimes you have to be prepared to go and grind out a result.
'If we can come back with a point it will be good, but a win would be even better.'
The Royals are hoping to have striker Jason Parish back after missing the last three games through injury.
Fellow striker Mike Turvey has also been missing for a month through injury, while defender Ellis Martin is suspended after picking up five bookings.
'A lot of this game is all about confidence,' said Catlin.
'The last few results have sapped that out of us.
'Before that we were ten games unbeaten and playing with a lot of confidence.
'All teams have poor spells - the important thing is how quickly you can get out of them.'
Michael Birmingham admits a big three points are at stake for Horndean against Bashley at Five Heads Park (3pm).
'We have got three tough games on the bounce with Alresford and Baffins to follow,' said Birmingham.
'Three back-to-back wins would put us right back up there.
'We need to show what we are about and start picking up a bit of form.
'It is time to dig deep and kick on another gear.
'The good thing is that I am starting to get players back and soon should have a full squad to select from.'