Baffins Milton Rovers aiming to join Horndean and Hamworthy in three-way tie at the top of the Wessex League

Baffins Milton Rovers bid to join Horndean and Hamworthy in a three-way tie at the top of the Wessex League on Tuesday.

By Simon Carter
Monday, 10th January 2022, 4:23 pm
Oscar Johnston would have missed Saturday's game with Poppies, but is available on Tuesday. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Oscar Johnston would have missed Saturday's game with Poppies, but is available on Tuesday. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Rovers will move level on points with the top two if they can claim a seventh successive Premier Division victory against Bournemouth Poppies.

The game was washed out last weekend at the PMC Stadium but has been hastily rearranged (7.45pm).

Baffins normally play midweek home games on a Wednesday but Rovers boss Shaun Wilkinson explained: ‘Poppies actually turned up at the ground (on Saturday) before it was called off.

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‘We asked them if they could play midweek and they said they could play Tuesday, not Wednesday. As they’d come all that way we basically let them pick the date.

‘With Hamworthy and Shaftesbury winning at the weekend, this is an important game.

‘We’re top of the form table but we’ve got two tricky games now (Baffins travel to Christchurch next Saturday).

‘We’ll be saying to the players ‘don’t look at the league table - there’s no gimmes in this league.’

‘It’s points over performance at this stage of the season but we still have to do the right things.

‘If we turn up, be professional and bring our ‘A’ game I don’t think there’s a team in the league who can live with us.’

It would be a major shock if Poppies avoided defeat. The Dorset club haven’t won for 15 league games, since a 2-1 victory against second bottom Amesbury in late September. They have only picked up two points from their last nine outings, one of which was a draw against Amesbury.

Having recently signed veteran striker Craig McAllister, Wilkinson admits he would to bolster Baffins’ first-ever serious Wessex title challenge with one more addition.

‘I’d like a defender, someone who could play anywhere across the back,’ he said

‘I’ve only got out and out centre halves in Lee Molyneaux and Ed Sanders.

‘We’ve got Josh Warren who’s a big asset but he’s had long Covid and only played once all season.’

Wilkinson said Baffins would take promotion to the Southern League if they either won the title or finished runners-up and went up via a play-off.

‘I don’t think the club would ever turn it down,’ he remarked. ‘I think we’re a couple of years ahead of schedule.

‘There’s a long way to go yet. At the moment we’re contenders but any of the top seven are capable of putting together a run of eight or nine wins.’

Attacking midfielder Oscar Johnston would have missed the weekend clash with Poppies, but he is available for Tuesday’s game.

Portsmouth FC season ticket holders can claim half-price admission - £3 adults and £2 concessions.