MICHAEL BIRMINGHAM insists Horndean are the underdogs heading into tonight’s Wessex League premier division local derby against AFC Portchester at Five Heads Park (7.45pm).
Though his team are four points ahead of the Royals, Birmingham regards the visitors as a far bigger club.
Realistically, we shouldn’t be where we are in the league but we are there by rightMichael Birmingham
‘AFC Portchester are one of the biggest clubs in our league and certainly one with a huge potential,’ said Birmingham.
‘They are set up off the pitch to move up to a higher level.
‘Their support is good and a number of good people have put in a lot of hard work.
‘On the playing side, their squad contains a lot of experience, with the likes of Steve Ramsey, Josh Warren and Joe Bye.
‘Up front, we all know about the ability of Alex Baaldacchino and the power of Andy Todd.
‘Since Ian Saunders joined the management team three games ago, he has rejuvenated a sleeping giant.’
Though Birmingham recognises the quality of his opponents, he also knows his squad are capable of matching them.
The Deans sit sixth in the table and have a squad which is a blend of youth and experience, which has proved successful for them.
Horndean are also being spurred on by wanting to improve on their last local derby.
The Deans were thrashed 4-0 at Moneyfields last week.
They got some of the disappointment out of their system with a 3-0 home win against Fawley on Saturday.
Substitute Connor Duffin grabbed a second-half hat-trick.
‘We know we are punching above our weight,’ Birmingham added.
‘Realistically, we shouldn’t be where we are in the league but we are there by right.
‘We want to make sure we stay ahead of Portchester and finish as high as we possibly can.’