Horndean wary of Hythe & Dibden in FA Cup - and threat of former Southampton forward

22//12/2018 (sport)''Football - Horndean v Hamworthy, Wessex League Premier Division ''Pictured is: Michael Birmingham''Picture: Neil Marshall (181222-011)
22//12/2018 (sport)''Football - Horndean v Hamworthy, Wessex League Premier Division ''Pictured is: Michael Birmingham''Picture: Neil Marshall (181222-011)
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Michael Birmingham has warned Horndean to expect a huge fight on their hands in their FA Cup preliminary round tie at Hythe & Dibden.

Although the Wessex League premier division visitors play in the tier above, the Deans boss insists that means nothing in a one-off game.

Their hosts showed their pedigree in the last round by beating AFC Portchester in a replay.

Horndean are also experiencing an injury crisis that saw 13 senior players on the treatment table in midweek.

Birmingham faces a race against time to get some of them fit for the Cup tie.

‘This is a massive game for both teams,’ said Birmingham.

‘I have to try to patch as many of my players up as possible, give them some TLC and hopefully coax them through 90 minutes.

‘It isn't going to be easy. Hythe have ex-Saints player Jo Tessem in their ranks.

‘Although he is not as young as he used to be he still has plenty of Premier League quality.

‘They also have plenty of energy and pace up front so we will have to have our wits about us.

‘If Hythe were in our league I would expect them to be a top-four side.

‘I wasn't surprised they beat Portchester.

‘We have to go there do a job and make sure we are still in the hat on Monday.’

Meanwhile, Fareham travel to Combined Counties League hosts Knaphill.

Pete Stiles feels his side are in confident mood after their unbeaten start to the season.

‘Every game in the FA Cup is tough because there is so much at stake,’ said the Cams Alders boss.

‘Knaphill are another big, physical side but if we go and play our football then we have every chance.’

Baffins Milton Rovers are involved in an all Wessex League premier division tie at Fleet Town.

Steve Leigh believes it is all about approaching the game in the right manner.

‘The Baffins manager said: ‘We have to go there and be prepared to work hard as a team.

‘Their pitch has a big slope and we will have to cope with that.’