MANAGER Dave Carter insisted it is Horndean’s turn to make the most of home advantage in their FA Vase replay against Winterbourne United at Five Heads Park tonight (7.45pm).
The two teams battled to a 4-4 draw after extra-time in the first game on the Western League side’s 3G pitch on Saturday.
Carter admitted his team struggled to come to terms with the unfamiliar surface but reckons the boot is now on the other foot, with a home tie against Longwell Green Sports lying in wait for the winner.
‘It is our opponents’ turn to have to adapt,’ said Carter.
‘They might not find the slope and the grass at Five Heads Park so easy to play on.
‘It is up to us to make the most of home advantage.
‘We never really mastered the artificial pitch at Winterbourne and needed a last-ditch penalty to stay in the tie.
‘Now we are back on a more familiar surface, life should be a little easier.
‘There is still a job to be done, though, because Winterbourne showed they can be dangerous going forward.’
Carter is boosted by the return of a number of key players who missed the first game.
Dan Ayres, who broke his ankle last season, and Robbie Tambling, who was suffering from shin splints, were not risked on the more unforgiving 3G surface.
The home side also have influential midfielder Lewis Stockford back in contention after work commitments kept him out.
‘This is an important game for us,’ said Carter.
‘The FA Vase is the biggest competition we are left in and we are ambitious to have a good run in it.’
The other local team left in the Vase, United Services, have been handed a tough away draw at Sholing Sports.
In the Wessex League premier division, Fareham Town and Moneyfields go head to head at Cams Alders (7.45pm).
The home side are looking to bounce back after suffering an extra-time exit from the FA Vase at Verwood Town at the weekend.
Moneys, meanwhile, are struggling to find any consistency and manager Miles Rutherford is still looking for his team to click into gear.
They scraped to a 3-2 home win over struggling Folland Sports in their last outing and the Dover Road boss accepted that wasn’t good enough.
‘We are not playing well and that is a bit concerning at the moment,’ said Rutherford.
‘Against Follands we did well for the opening 10 minutes and raced into a two-goal lead.
‘Then we switched off, started to take liberties and went through the motions. When we do that we look a poor side.
‘We still can’t defend set-pieces and conceded two identical goals from corners.
‘It is nothing to do with fitness and more with mental attitude.
‘To do that the players will have to concentrate and stop coasting through parts of the game.’
The visitors are still without injured pair Jack Lee and Toby McAuley for the trip to Fareham, while Jake Morgan and Jake Raine are both on holiday.
Young striker Alfie Rutherford isn’t available as he is with Ryman Premier Bognor, who host Met Police at Nyewood Lane tomorrow night.