Horndean and Brockenhurst 'enjoying' ride at top end of Wessex Premier as they prepare to get very familiar over next couple of weeks

Horndean manager Michael Birmingham believes both his side and fellow high-fliers Brockenhurst will be able to 'enjoy' their upcoming back-to-back battles - because both clubs are exceeding expectations in the Wessex League Premier Division.

By Lewis Mason
Thursday, 24th February 2022, 6:45 pm
Horndean boss Michael Birmingham Picture: Martyn White
Horndean boss Michael Birmingham Picture: Martyn White

The Deans currently sit in second, three points and a place above next opponents Brock in the table, although they have played one game more ahead of Saturday's Five Heads Park clash.

Strangely at this late point in the season, the weekend meeting will be the first time the teams have met in the league this term, with the reverse fixture scheduled to take place just eight days later in the New Forest.

Birmingham admitted facing a direct division rival in such quick succession is far from ideal, but told his men to get on with things as they aim to put more distance between themselves and Brockenhurst in the table.

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He said: ‘We're both enjoying it at the moment because no-one expected Horndean and Brockenhurst to be up there - not fighting for the league because it's Hamworthy's to lose - but we're up there still at this stage of the season - no-one in league would have expected that.

‘All people would have expected was Brockenhurst at the start of the season, they started well, they played a lot of games and we're top of the table, now they're still up there.

‘It's like Horndean, ‘yeah, okay the pitches are firm, they're up the top of the table - hold on, they're still up there’.

‘For me and Pat (McManus; Brockenhurst manager), we like to show you don't have to have all the money in the world to be successful.

‘It's all about how hard you work on the training pitch, how much you strip it back to the bare bones and don't forget the basic fundamentals.’

Birmingham, who is unsure whether Jack Lee will shake off a hamstring injury in time to face Brockenhurst, continued: ‘Hopefully we can both be up there, it's going to be very difficult considering we've both got each other twice - they've got a game in hand and they're three points behind.

‘Look, it's an exciting last few weeks of the season. The good thing is, with nine games to go, we're up there and something to play for.’