Carter: Deans can be a match for anyone in top tier

Aaron Fennmore. Picture: Sarah Standing (128010-4582)
Aaron Fennmore. Picture: Sarah Standing (128010-4582)
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Horndean boss Dave Carter believes avoiding injuries and suspensions will be the key to Wessex League premier division success.

With a full-strength squad to choose from, the Deans manager insists his side can be a match for anyone in the top flight.

Carter’s theory will be put to the test tomorrow when they open their home campaign against champions Blackfield & Langley at Five Heads Park (3pm).

He said: ‘With sides like Sholing and Winchester City dropping down from the Southern League, our league is going to be tougher this season.

‘There are some teams throwing big money at it.

‘With our best team out, though, we can be a match for anyone.

‘We showed that at Downton in midweek with a 3-0 win and we could easily have scored five or six.

‘There are still players missing on holiday but if we stick to our jobs and work hard again we can surprise Blackfield.’

Nathan Paxton, Dan Eyres and Dan Hayes are all partying in Ibiza.

But midfielder Aaron Fennemore and keeper Jack Stansbridge return to the squad.

Stansbridge replaces Carter’s 52-year-old assistant manager Steve May, who stepped in at Downton and kept a clean sheet.

The home side’s main problems are in defence, where Hayes, Eyres and the injured Alex Shephard are all missing.

‘After Tuesday night’s performance, we can go into this game with a lot more confidence,’ said Carter.

Elsewhere, Moneyfields travel to take on Romsey Town.

The Copnor club are looking to maintain their fine start to the season, which kicked off with a 0-0 draw at Winchester and saw them come from behind to beat Lymington 4-2 on Tuesday.

It took a triple substitution to spark the comeback.

And James Ford, Bobby Scott and Jay Ripiner will all be pushing for a start after their contribution.

‘We probably have the strongest squad for many a year at Dover Road,’ said manager Miles Rutherford.

‘There is competition for places right through the team and the players seem happy with that.

‘I have learned, though, that some are not yet ready for two games in a week.’

Goalkeeper Dave Hook returns to the squad and striker Warren Hunt is available for the first time this season.

AFC Portchester face a daunting visit to highly-fancied Winchester City (3pm), who smashed seven goals past Fawley in midweek.

Lewis Stockford and Nathan Kirby scored in Portchester’s 2-2 home draw against Verwwod Town.

Fareham Town and Hayling United face off in the Wessex League Cup competition (3pm).

Matt Parr takes his Reds to his old club, who may feel they have a point to prove after being relegated from the premier division due to ground grading problems at the end of last season.