Horndean boss looking forward to playing his youth team in Portsmouth Senior Cup clash at Baffins Milton Rovers
Horndean boss Michael Birmingham is eagerly looking forward to another clash with Baffins Milton Rovers.
A late Connor Duffin penalty gave Deans a dramatic 2-1 Wessex Premier victory at Five Heads Park on Tuesday.
The teams next clash at The PMC Stadium on November 11 in a Portsmouth Senior Cup semi-final held over from last season.
Birmingham will be playing the club’s under-18s that night and will let their management team take charge of the team as well.
‘I don’t care if Baffins play their first team, we’re playing the under-18s - they’re a very, very good team,’ he explained.
‘I will be there watching but the under-18 management team will be in charge.
‘It’s exciting times for the club.’
Horndean under-18s have won their opening four Hampshire Development East Division games this term, belting 22 goals in the process.
Four of the side - Evan Harris, Mackenzie Morgan, Joe Adams and Zac Brownlie - featured in the Wessex League Cup win at AFC Portchester.
Striker Harris - who netted four times in last Sunday’s 10-1 league thumping of Fareham - was also on the bench against Baffins in midweek.
With no Hampshire Senior Cup, Russell Cotes Cup or 2020/21 Portsmouth Senior Cup ties this term, chances to blood youngsters in a competitive environment are more limited.
Birmingham, therefore, will play as many under-18s as he can in the Wessex League Cup and Portsmouth Senior Cup.
The boss declared himself ‘very encouraged’ by Deans’ start to 2020/21, with the win against Baffins taking them into joint-top spot.
Rovers boss Shaun Wilkinson was adamant he thought he side deserved a point, but Birmingham countered: ‘They had possession but they didn’t really hurt us, didn’t do much to get us worried.
‘On the chances created, we were worthy of the three points.
‘It was played at a good tempo, both teams trying to play the right way.
‘I know they said they were beaten by a worldie and a penalty, but don’t forget their goal (from Tommy Scutt) was a worldie as well.’
‘I’ve been very encouraged so far, particularly after such a long, long break.’
Deans returned to winning ways in midweek after successive league defeats at Christchurch (0-3) and Bashley (0-1).
‘We played well at Bashley and lost, not so well against Baffins but won - it’s crazy how it goes,’ said Birmingham.
Robbie Taw limped off early against his former club on Tuesday and joins ex-Baffins colleague Tommy Tierney on the injured list.
Striker Miles Everett and left-back Liam Bush, though, return to the squad for this weekend’s home clash with Shaftesbury.
Birmingham could also have a new signing on show after two potential recruits - one from Sunday League football, one a dual signing - were attending training last night.