Michael Birmingham showers praise on 'best of the best' Hamworthy and outlines what his Horndean side will require in order to beat them

Michael Birmingham conceded table-toppers Horndean will have to hope fellow title-chasers Hamworthy turn in one of their 'worst performances' of the season if they are to come away with anything when the the rivals do battle this weekend.

By Lewis Mason
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 12:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th January 2022, 2:07 pm
Alfie Lis is out of Horndean's battle with Hamworthy with a hamstring injury Picture: Martyn White
Alfie Lis is out of Horndean's battle with Hamworthy with a hamstring injury Picture: Martyn White

The Deans boss says the third-placed Hammers are the 'best of the best' in the Wessex League Premier Division - that's despite his men sitting top of the table heading into Saturday's contest at Five Heads Park.

Horndean go into the intriguing meeting between the title contenders still reeling from Moneyfields' remarkable stoppage-time comeback draw in midweek.

But Birmingham claims there is no better team to bounce back against than facing Hamworthy - who are two places below and four points adrift of leaders Horndean having played three games fewer.

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Although the Horndean boss is all too aware it is going to take something big from his troops to inflict just a second league defeat in 24 games this season on former Gosport striker Tim Sills' men.

Birmingham said: ‘What a game to bounce back to as well. You’re playing the best of the best, that’s what they are.

‘Hamworthy are the best of the best, without a doubt, if anyone is to win the league you’ve got to finish above Hamworthy and Baffins, that’s it, you finish above Hamworthy and Baffins you’ve got a chance.

‘You’ve got to understand that we’ve got to play out of our skins and hope Hamworthy have an absolute nightmare - and we might get a point, we might get a point if we’re lucky.

‘They’ve got to play one of the worst they’ve played and we’ve got to play a level we’ve never played before.

‘If you’re playing Hamworthy you cannot afford to be anything less than 110 per cent at your maximum.’

Leading scorer Connor Duffin is once again available to face Hamworthy after playing and scoring wearing a protective face mask in the draw at Moneyfields having suffered a broken nose in last weekend's win over Bashley.

But Birmingham remains without both Alfie Lis (hamstring) and defender Sam Emeney (foot) for the visit of the Hammers.