Birthday-boy Bell wants AFC boost

Simon Wood is available to play for AFC Portchester
Simon Wood is available to play for AFC Portchester
Richard Pacquette and Rocky Baptiste (right) celebrate with the Hawks fans after the win against Swansea

Cup nostalgia: ‘Fantastic night’ for Hawks set up famous Anfield trip

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AFC Portchester coach Louis Bell is hoping to celebrate a birthday milestone with a Wessex League premier division home win over former club Blackfield & Langley.

Bell, who turns 50 tomorrow, took over the reins at Wicor Rec a month ago, alongside former Pompey manager Graham Rix, following the dismissal of manager Glenn Bridgman.

Bridgman did a terrific job in taking the club into the premier division for the first time in their history and helping consolidate their position in the league this season.

But Bell and Rix are looking to take the ambitious club even further, with Southern League football the immediate aim.

He also believes victory over league leaders Blackfield would send out a statement of intent for their rivals.

‘Graham and I have been here four or five weeks and we are excited about the job,’ said Bell.

‘We have a team here who on their day can compete with anybody.

‘If we can beat Blackfield it will be the best birthday present of them all.

‘They are top of the league and going for the title, so it will be a tough ask and we will have to be at our very best.’

Bell expects to include leading goalscorer Simon Woods in his squad for the visit of Blackfield.

He has been trying his luck with Ryman League premier division Bognor in the last week, after agreeing to a dual registration with the Nyewood Lane outfit.

The home side will also give a debut to fellow striker Steffan Gaisie, who had a spell with the Rocks earlier in the season.

Craig Harding, Blu Boam and Liam Horstead are doubtful because of injury and illness.

Miles Rutherford will demand greater discipline from his Moneyfields team for their visit to Fawley.

The Copnor club, who currently sit third in the table, crashed to a 4-2 home defeat against Alresford in midweek after striker Steve Hutchings was sent off.

Moneyfields led until the final five minutes before imploding badly to concede three times at the death.

Fareham Town have the chance to stop the rot at home as they host relegation-haunted New Milton Town at Cams Alders.

The Reds have lost their past two home games and manager Matt Parr wants an improvement.

Horndean and Hayling United face difficult visits to Hamworthy and Christchurch respectively.

n The Hawks have no Blue Square Bet South fixture this weekend after re-arranging their game with AFC Hornchurch for earlier in the season.

However, Lee Bradbury’s side have pencilled in their home clash with Maidenhead United for Tuesday, March 26. The original fixture on Saturday, Match 16, was cancelled after a waterlogged pitch.