Baffins Milton Rovers to face 'big test' in derby clash with 'champions-elect' AFC Portchester
Steve Leigh is expecting Baffins Milton Rovers to be faced with one of their biggest tests of the season in the Wessex Premier League at the PMC Stadium on Saturday.
A mouth-watering derby against AFC Portchester is on the cards as Rovers eye a win that would see them leapfrog above their visitors.
There is also the possibility of moving into the top three should either side take victory to provide an added incentive.
But Baffins boss Leigh insisted his team are the underdogs heading into the derby clash.
‘We are up against a team that I believe are the champions-elect,' declared Leigh.
‘It is a massive opportunity for us to gauge just where we are in our development.
‘AFC Portchester have a budget that is probably the best in our league.
‘They have a lot of experienced quality players in their squad.
‘As a club, they are ready to move up to the next level and I believe they have a great chance of doing that.
'It is where we aspire to be a bit further down the road.
‘We have come a long way in a short space of time, but this is a big test for us.
‘Having said that, we have beaten top sides already this season.
‘The players have shown they are easily capable of an upset.
‘We are building a squad for a couple of years time and have a lot of youngsters in the side.’
Baffins will be without the injured George Way as well as Tyler Moret and Josh Dean, who are both suspended.
They are sweating on the fitness of defender Ben Spranger, who has made a big impression since joining in the summer.
Portchester manager Mick Catlin is expecting a torrid time for his side, but is adamant his troops are prepared for the test that awaits them.
'It will be good to get back playing again after losing our last couple of games to the weather,' said Catlin.
'Every game at the moment seems like a big derby.
'Baffins is never an easy place to visit and we drew 1-1 there last season.
'We have started to pick up again with two successive wins.
'That is down to getting key players back from injury.'
Catlin hopes striker Jason Parish will have shrugged off an ankle injury in time to face the club he left earlier in the season.
Baffins have never beaten Portchester in the Wessex League.
They lost both games in 2017-18 - Thomas Scott hitting a hat-trick in a 4-3 away win for the Royals - while both games last season were drawn.