Graham Rix has warned AFC Portchester they cannot afford to drop any more silly points ahead of tomorrow’s Wessex League premier division contest against Bournemouth at Wicor Rec (3pm).
The Royals have excelled in recent cup games against the Hawks and Petersfield Town but have let themselves down in the league.
They dropped two crucial points against 10-man Bemerton Heath Harlequins in their last home game and Rix won’t accept a repeat against the Poppies.
‘We have shown we can raise our game against clubs playing at a higher level than us but now we have to do the same in our league,’ said Rix.
‘Against Bemerton we were rubbish.
‘We didn’t move the ball around sharply enough and switched off at the back to concede two poor goals.
‘It was very sloppy.
‘Though we have only lost once in the league all season we have drawn far too many games.
‘This has become a big game for us because it is one we need to win.
‘We know we have to put together a winning run if we are to ask questions of the teams above us.’
Rix has the luxury of a full-strength squad to choose from.
Manager Craig Pearce reckons it is essential Horndean get back to winning ways against Verwood Town in the New Forest (3pm).
Pearce has seen his side’s title ambitions dented by two successive away defeats at Alresford Town and Salisbury.
‘We have to view this game as an opportunity to get back on track,’ said Pearce.
‘Though we showed a lot of character in our 4-3 defeat at Salisbury, we still came away empty-handed.
‘This weekend is all about picking up three points.’
Dan Hayes returns from a one-match suspension and Mark Smith is back from holiday.
Lee Tigwell has also returned to training after a stomach injury but will probably need a little bit longer before being involved.
Fareham Town cross the Solent to take on Newport IOW at St Georges Park (3pm).
The Reds returned to action after a long enforced lay-off with an impressive 2-1 win at Bemerton Heath Harlequins.
Stone will be keen to see his side build on that and continue their climb up the league.
Moneyfields are without a game this weekend.
In division one, United Services Portsmouth host Fleet Spurs at Burnaby Road (3pm).