Bosses set to ring the changes as AFC Portchester and Fareham battle for seasonal ‘El Creekio’ bragging rights

AFC Portchester and Fareham Town meet for the fourth time this season on Tuesday night to decide the ‘El Crekkio’ bragging rights for 2019/20.

Monday, 16th December 2019, 1:47 pm
Updated Monday, 16th December 2019, 2:37 pm
Joe Bye scores for AFC Portchester during their 2-0 Russell Cotes Cup final win over Fareham in 2014.

Both managers are likely to ring the changes for the rearranged Russell Cotes Cup tie at the Crest Finance Stadium (7.45pm).

Honours are even going into the tie with both teams claiming a Wessex Premier League win.

A late Will Harris goal gave Fareham an away victory in October, but Mick Catlin's side bounced back to win 3-1 at Cams Alders last month.

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The second game came just a week after their Russell Cotes Cup tie was abandoned at half-time due to bad weather with the score 1-1.

Both teams are in good form after securing excellent wins at the weekend.

Fareham despatched Hamwothy 3-0 whilst the Royals returned from Shaftesbury with a hard-earned 1-0 win - their fourth away league victory in a row

'There isn't much between the two teams,' said Reds boss Pete Stiles.

'We have a big league game against Alresford next up so I will have to think carefully about the side I put out.

'Our win against Hamworthy put us within four points of the top three.

'We picked up that win without being anywhere near our best.

‘I can't afford to have key players tired or injured, so I will need to deal with it as I see fit.

'Being the deciding game between the two of us, though, we will both want to win it.'

Portchester have climbed to third in the league and if they won their games in hand would take over at the top.

Catlin also faces the problem of juggling his resources ahead of some crucial league matches.

'We have got huge games against Horndean and Alresford coming up,' he said.

'In a way it is a distraction and probably a game both clubs could do without at this stage.

'At the same time, this is the last cup we are left in so we want to progress.

'Also it is a local derby which always means something.

'The league, though, is our priority and we won't be jeopardising too many players.

'There are a number of good young lads coming through from the youth set up into our reserves.

'This could be an opportunity for some of them.

'We have enough quality in our squad to be very competitive.'

The winners travel to in-form Alton in the quarter finals.

Alton took over top spot in Wessex 1 last weekend with their sixth straight league win, and they have also recently beat Premier high-flyers AFC Stoneham in the Russell Cotes Cup.

As for Portchester, they are aiming for a third RCC win in recent years.

They defeated Fareham in the 2014 final 2-0 and beat Bemerton on penalties three years later.

Russell Cotes Cup quarter finals: Alton v AFC Portchester or Fareham, Sholing or Horndean v Bemerton Heath, Christchurch or Fawley v Brockenhurst, AFC Totton v Lymington Town.