AFC Portchester relishing showdown with title favourites

Joe Bye. Picture: Neil Marshall (171033-28)
Joe Bye. Picture: Neil Marshall (171033-28)
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Mick Catlin is relishing AFC Portchester’s clash against Wessex League leaders Andover Town at the Blanchard Wells Stadium tomorrow (3pm).

The Royals’ joint-boss believes his side are capable of upsetting their premier division rivals.

And he admitted Portchester have had the fixture circled on their calendar for some time.

‘This is a game we have been waiting for,’ said Catlin.

‘It is a chance for us to test ourselves against the best and see where we are at.

‘We were disappointed to drop points in the last minute at Alresford but the conditions were horrendous.

‘Being at home against Andover we must be looking to go for the win.

‘If we manage that then we will make some good headway at the top.

‘Both teams like to get the ball down and play football, so it should be an exciting encounter.’

The return of club captain Joe Bye, from a dead leg, has made a big difference to the Royals.

Joe Noakes is a long-term absentee after suffering a knee injury and Nathan Kirby is a doubt because of a back problem.

Elsewhere, Steve Leigh insists Baffins Milton Rovers need to be 100-per-cent focused for the visit of Lymington Town to the Kendall Stadium (3pm).

‘Against a team like Lymington we have to be on the top of our game all over the pitch,’ said the boss.

‘If we aren’t then we will get found out. Our attitude, desire and work-rate have to be spot on.

‘I am just looking for the team to keep putting in performances.’

Leigh is hoping to have Callum Dart back in contention after injury.

Fareham Town return to action after a two-week break with a trip to Team Solent.

Reds boss Pete Stiles is keen to see his team playing again.

‘If we can get a couple of wins under our belt we can move into the top half of the table,’ he said.

‘The league is so tight at the moment.

‘We had a good 1-0 win at Brockenhurst in our last game.’

Stiles is without Scott Hamilton, who has a back injury, and Louis Castles, who is unavailable.

Horndean face a difficult challenge at fifth-placed Alresford Town.

Petersfield Town visit Bemerton Heath Harlequins with their confidence boosted by the win against Cowes Sports.

It was the Rams’ first victory in the league for almost four months.