FA Vase heroes US Portsmouth set to ring the changes in Hampshire Invitation Cup curtain-raiser
FA Vase heroes US Portsmouth lift the curtain on their Hampshire Invitation Cup group fixtures tonight.
After the euphoria of beating Christchurch on penalties to reach the last 16 of a national competition, USP host Wessex Division 1 club Petersfield Town (7.45pm) in their opening Group 1 tie.
Boss Glenn Turnbull will ring the changes, keeping some players fresh for next Saturday’s Vase trip to Tavistock.
Goalkeeper Tom Price, top scorer James Franklyn and striker Andrew Todd – the latter a former Wessex League Premier title winner with Petersfield - will be among those rested tonight.
Sam Richards - dual signed from Moneyfields - could well be in goal, while Tyler Moret - ineligible for the Vase after appearing for Baffins Milton in an earlier round - will replace Todd up front.
Centre half Tom Cain, who has been playing through a foot injury sustained in the first training session after lockdown restrictions were eased, is another who won’t feature against the Rams. That could mean a run-out for ex-Hawks Academy defender Sonny Harnett-Balkwill, who replaced Cain at the weekend.
Elliott Turnbull, Jay Ripiner, Dan Sibley, Cameron Quirke, and Frankie Paige - all subs against Christchurch - will also be in contention for a start.
AFC Portchester, Folland Sports and Hamble Club are also in Group 1. With this Saturday’s tie with Folland postponed due to the FA Vase, USP’s second Invitation Cup match is at Portchester next Tuesday.
It will be their fourth visit to The Crest Finance Stadium this season, having already beaten the Royals in the FA Vase and in a recent friendly. In addition, US also beat Bournemouth Poppies there in the Vase, having switched the tie from the Victory Stadium due to lockdown restrictions.
US are competing for cup success on three fronts, as they are due to host Bemerton in the semi-finals of the Wessex League Cup on May 11, aiming to reach the final for the first time in the club’s history.