Horndean look for second top three Wessex scalp in a week

HORNDEAN go in search of a second top three Wessex Premier scalp in five days on Wednesday evening.

Tuesday, 19th November 2019, 2:42 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th November 2019, 3:32 pm
Horndean manager Michael Birmingham

Following on from last Saturday’s 4-1 caning of leaders Alresford, they make the short journey to third-placed Baffins Milton.

Deans boss Michael Birmingham views Baffins as a mirror image of his side.

‘They are a good side doing extremely well,’ he said. ‘I’ve a lot of time for (Baffins boss) Steve Leigh - his sides try to play football the right way, like I want mine to do.

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‘Steve wants to try and bring the youngsters through, so he is doing things properly.’

Birmingham will again be demanding a big performance at the PMC Stadium.

‘I told the players after (the Alresford win) that they have set a high standard now,’ he remarked.

‘You are only ever as good as your last game, and before last weekend our last game was Raynes Park in the Vase and we were awful.

‘At times my players might think I keep on at them too much, but I have high standards.

‘Some people might not like them - but they are my standards and I’m not going to drop them.’

Birmingham fielded a strong squad against Alresford, though he was still without last season’s top scorer Harry Jackson who is currently sidelined after undergoing a knee operation.

Striker Sammy Kessack - who had scored a hat-trick in Deans’ previous league game at Cowes - was also absent while the likes of Mark Smith, Tee Kanjanda, Dan Sackman and Connor Duffin were on the bench.

‘The players put in a lot of hard work at training,’ said Birmingham. ‘We have a good squad and not everyone is going to play every game, but I think the players are buying into what I’m trying to do here.’

Baffins, meanwhile, are searching for their first ever league win over Horndean.

In their first Wessex Premier campaign, 2017/18, they crashed 5-1 at home - Miles Everett and Jackson both scoring twice - and 2-0 at Five Heads Park.

Last season, goals from Connor Duffin and Alfie Lis gave Deans a 2-0 home win and Tee Kanjanda netted in a 1-1 draw at the PMC Stadium.