Fareham boss facing Wessex League selection headache ahead of huge FA Vase tie

Fareham Town boss Pete Stiles faces a selection headache ahead of their Wessex League Premier Division clash with Cowes Sports on Tuesday.

Monday, 14th December 2020, 3:12 pm
Curt Robbins, right, suffered a groin injury in Fareham's FA Vase win at Helston Athletic. Picture: Keith Woodland

The Reds welcome the Isle of Wight-based side to Cams Alders (7.15pm) as they return to league action after equalling club FA Vase history.

Stiles' side reached the third round of the competition for just the third time courtesy of a win at Helston Athletic.

The Reds bid to make the last 32 this Saturday at Western League table-toppers Plymouth Parkway.

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But Stiles does not want that to distract from the club's title push this term.

Fareham sit fourth, five points behind leaders Hamworthy with a game in hand.

He made some changes for the 1-1 home draw with Fleet Town last Tuesday.

And Stiles is conscious of falling further off the title pace when Cowes visit.

Yet, with that clash coming just four days after a long trip to Helston and a journey to Plymouth awaiting, he will leave his team selection until the last minute.

Stiles said: ‘I’m going to have to think about it.

‘It’s alright rotating but if you’re doing that, not playing your best team and dropping points, when you come back to go into the league you think ‘should I have done this or should I have done that?’

‘I’m not saying we dropped points last week but I don’t want to go too weak and totally focus on the Vase and forget the league is there.

‘We want to do well in the league as well.

'We realise we’re going to drop down a little bit (in the league) if we’re in this competition.

‘Everyone played last weekend and everyone will be playing on Saturday and we won’t be.

‘I don’t want too much catch-up where you’re then under pressure.'

Fareham have doubts over both Josh Benfield and Curt Robbins after picking up groin injuries at Helston.

Benfield pulled out in the warm-up while Robbins was forced off before half-time.

Stiles added: ‘It’s not been great where we’ve had to stop and go straight away again at such intensity with the games we’re playing.

‘I can understand you’ve got to play these games but it’s hard on the players, especially on some difficult pitches.

‘It’s just relentless at the moment, but there you go.'