Marty Wallace believes winning the early battles will be key when the Royal Navy face the Royal Air Force for the Cassar Cup at the Victory Stadium tonight (7pm).
The boss is looking for a response from his side after they were defeated by the British Army last month.
Wallace rued defensive errors in that 7-3 loss and the navy have been working hard to eradicate similar mistakes.
The Scot, who is a coach at AFC Portchester, is expecting a full-blooded battle against the RAF – but has backed his side to come out on top of the heated exchanges.
Wallace said: ‘Everybody was disappointed with the army result and the lads have reflected on that.
‘We have come back and had some good training sessions and some good discussions.
‘The lads have put a real positive spin on it and have turned it around.
‘We will be looking to strengthen personnel in the defensive area.
‘There will be some guys coming in with a chance to show us what they’ve got and prove a point.
‘We’re looking to gain some credibility again and put in a good performance. It’ll be played in a ferocious manner, if not more competitive (than the army match).
‘We’re both similar-sized forces, so we think we are closely matched.
‘With any of the services games, the competitiveness is fierce and I’m sure there will be a full-blooded start to the fixture.
‘If we win that early battle and manage the occasion then we will come out on top.’
The game was scheduled to take place at Yeovil Town but has switched to United Services’ Victory Stadium because of a frozen Huish Park pitch.
Ahead of the encounter, Wallace went on a scouting mission to watch the RAF’s 4-1 loss to the British Army at Shrewsbury’s New Meadow.
Although he feels the navy’s opponents are well organised, the boss is adamant his troops will play on the front foot.
‘I went up to watch the game at Shrewsbury and the army were the stronger side,’ added Wallace.
‘The RAF are well organised and a decent team.
‘It will be well matched but we have got our tails up.
‘I’m sure they will want to react as well but they’ve had to change their plans more than we have.
‘Hopefully we can capitalise on that, start well, gain some momentum and deliver a positive result.’
– WILL ROONEY