Double Wessex League champion Danny Thompson: Current Baffins Milton Rovers squad is better than squads I won the title with

Double Premier League title winner Danny Thompson believes the current Baffins Milton Rovers squad is better than any he played in during his Wessex League career.

By Simon Carter
Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 10:15 am
Ex-Pompey Academy player Oscar Johnson, left, in action for Baffins during Tuesday's win at US Portsmouth.
Picture: Habibur Rahman
Ex-Pompey Academy player Oscar Johnson, left, in action for Baffins during Tuesday's win at US Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Thompson was part of Alex Pike’s Gosport Borough squad that pipped AFC Totton on goal difference in 2006/07, and also played when Petersfield won the title - 12 months after claiming the Division 1 trophy - in 2014/15.

Yet the Baffins assistant manager considers the current Rovers squad a cut above both of those champions.

Baffins returned to second place on Tuesday with a comfortable 3-0 Portsea Island derby success at US Portsmouth.

Still unbeaten after seven games, Rovers have only conceded three goals - and two of those were in the season-opening draw at Fareham Town.

Baffins possess the likes of Tommy Scutt and Oscar Johnston, who came through the Pompey Academy.

Skipper James Cowan was a pro at Oxford United and Dundee while Lee Molyneaux was a regular at Conference South level and Ed Sanders was playing in the Southern League for Chichester last season.

Rovers have also dual signed AFC Totton winger George Britton, who has trialled with West Bromwich Albion and has spent time at Aldershot, Bognor and Worthing.

‘One hundred per cent we’ve got a better squad,’ said Thompson. ‘We’ve got technically better players - I wouldn’t swap anybody in our current team (for the title winners he played in).

‘At Petersfield we won six or seven in a row and just built momentum.

‘At Christmas we were top of the league, and we just carried on from there.’

The question is this - could Baffins do something similar in 2021/22?

Hamworthy United - the only other club still protecting an unbeaten Premier record - are ‘still the team to beat’ in Thompson’s opinion.

Baffins don’t play the Hammers - who trounced them 4-0 twice in the pandemic-curtailed 2020/21 season - until early December.

Rovers have so far hit second place without playing any club currently in the top seven. Their next three matches are also highly winnable on paper - Hythe & Dibden, Cowes and Amesbury.

But October promises to be ‘horrendous’ with successive league fixtures against Horndean, Shaftesbury, Portchester, Stoneham and Bashley.

Strikers Jason Parish and Alex Przespolewski are still sidelined for this weekend’s home game against a Hythe side who have lost their last eight league and cup games, failing to score in all of them and conceding 42.

Ex-Portchester U23s and Infinity boss Mark Dugan recently stepped down as manager, after only replacing ex-Baffins boss Louis Bell a few weeks prior.

Hythe have only managed two goals in their nine Wessex games since accepting promotion as part of the FA’s close-season restructure. The last time they scored in a Premier fixture was in a 4-1 loss at Stoneham on August 17.