Fareham aiming to create a ‘siege mentality’ as they go in search of shock FA Vase win at Plymouth Parkway
Fareham Town boss Pete Stiles insists his players will create a ‘siege mentality’ to confront the 'obstacles' thrown in front of them and progress in the FA Vase.
The Reds are finally set to play their third round tie at Western League Premier Division heavyweights Plymouth Parkway this weekend after two previous postponements.
The tie was due to be played on the last Saturday before Christmas but was called off due to a waterlogged pitch. Lockdown restrictions forced another postponement the following weekend.
Fareham's current squad are bidding to create a slice of history by taking the club to the fourth round of the competition for the first time.
But Stiles is unhappy the game has been switched to a 3G surface and the fact there will be no changing room or shower use for the behind-closed-doors contest.
Ongoing work to Parkway's pitch at their Bolitho Park base means they have moved the match to the artificial surface at county the Devon FA HQ in Newton Abbot.
On top of that, neither side is permitted changing room use with Fareham's players facing what could be a four-hour plus coach journey home without even being able to shower.
Stiles slammed some of the 'ludicrous' decision-making in order for the tie to go ahead - but he thinks it could create a 'siege mentality' within his squad to battle through.
He said: ‘I just think it’s a shame it’s got to be played with no fans, on a 3G pitch, with no showers - it’s not fitting of the occasion.
‘The only thing is we’ve got to look at it with the old siege mentality. It’s not ideal for Plymouth either - let’s face it, they’ve had the same amount of time off as us.
‘The showering situation and playing on a pitch we don’t want to play on - sometimes it makes you stronger.
'Don’t get me wrong, we’re looking forward to it and we’re going down there to try to win.
‘You don’t want to go anywhere on a coach for three or four hours and get beat and sit there and come back, do you?
‘You want to go down there and give it your best.
‘If you get back on that bus after the game and you’ve lost but you can say you’ve given it everything, then there’s no problem.
‘If you sit there and think you could have given it a bit more then there’s a problem with that.
‘There are plenty of obstacles being chucked in our way but we’ve got to get on with it.
‘It’s absolutely ludicrous that they can allow you to travel down on a coach and yet you can’t have a shower - it’s crazy.'
Fareham are facing a huge test in their first competitive fixture since a 2-0 Vase second round win at Cornish club Helston Athletic on December 12.
Parkway have lost just once in 14 matches this season - and that was an opening-day FA Cup defeat on penalties to Saltash United.
The Devonians have not played since beating Newton Abbot Spurs 3-1 in their Vase second round tie on December 5.
Parkway were 10 points clear at the top of the Western League Premier – the same step of the pyramid as Fareham – when the season was curtailed due to the pandemic, though Tavistock did have two games in hand.
And Stiles is expecting his side to face a real stiff test as Fareham look to create club history against a side who reached the quarter-finals last season.
He added: ‘We’re not expecting an easy time. We know a bit about them, we know their strengths, and I think we know their weaknesses.
‘They’ve been quite an established club for some time, they’ve got a good reputation and good history in this competition.
‘I’m sure they’ll be looking to progress - like we are.
‘We’ve got to turn around and make sure that we’re the ones who go through.'