Brain of Birmingham key for Moneys

Michael Birmingham pulls the strings for Moneyfields. Picture: Steve Reid (113566-471)
Michael Birmingham pulls the strings for Moneyfields. Picture: Steve Reid (113566-471)
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Miles Rutherford is hoping to tap into the ‘great footballing brain’ of Michael Birmingham.

The Moneyfields boss is determined to keep the club’s hunt for a top-three finish in the Wessex League premier division on track.

And Rutherford reckons the 36-year-old midfielder is key to those ambitions, as he readies his men for the visit of Alresford Town to Dover Road tomorrow (3pm).

Birmingham retired from football in September after making more than 700 appearances in 16 years for Bognor.

The lure of the game proved too strong, though, and inside a month he was back.

But Rutherford revealed he has taken a little while to warm up.

‘When Michael first came to us, he will be the first to admit he didn’t do himself any favours because he wasn’t fit enough,’ said the boss.

‘He realised that and got himself fitter by playing in the reserves.

‘We know he isn’t going to possess his mobility of old but his experience enables him to be very effective.

‘He has a great footballing brain and talks well to the players around him.

‘Our youngsters can learn a lot from him and he is good with them.’

The hosts are still without suspended trio Steve Hutchings, Luke Middleton and George Davis as they go in search of their 12th game without defeat.

Young striker George Gregory has been loaned to Chichester City, too.

But Danny Boyle returns from a groin injury.

Moneyfields: Hook, Evans, Wain, Lee, Horrell, Rackley, Gauntlett, Birmingham M, Lacey, Bailey, Slater, Boyle, N’Doye, Asajile

n Hayling travel to Hamworthy United in good spirits following their crucial 2-1 midweek win at Alresford.

Hopes of escaping relegation have been revived and boss Steve Poulton is keen to build on them.

But ahead of a vital clash with fellow strugglers Laverstock, he needs to keep them focused on the job at hand.

‘We’ve already beaten them once this season, so there is no reason why we can’t go there and get something,’ said Poulton.

‘I have to make sure the players are not distracted by the big relegation six-pointer on Tuesday, though.’

The Humbugs are boosted by the return of striker Lenny Burney from suspension but Jack Salter-Vaile and Scott Thornton are ruled out.

Hayling United: Patilla, Watts, Black, Baker, Gadd, Kinchen, Case, Thurgood, Burney, Tigwell, Easton, Fisher, Cooper, Wilson, Kendall

n Horndean will look to put their Portsmouth Senior Cup disappointment behind them as they host Alton Town at Five Heads Park (3pm).

Dave Carter’s side were beaten by division one outfit United Services in midweek.

Horndean: Howard, Smith, Shepherd, Chapman, Fennemore, Hayes, Spurway, Milroy, Martin, Bell, Fenelon, Paxton, McKie, Perkins, Luff, Austin, Blackmore

n Fareham cross the Solent to meet Brading Town – and boss Matt Parr is calling for improvement.

The Reds lost 2-0 at Alton this week, with Parr left to rue his lack of fire power.

Fareham: Douglas, Smith, Jones, Doswell, Lewis, Boud, Stevens, Thompson, Cuthbert, Burt, Lindsey, Tambling, Tattersall, Cotton, Pitman, Redman