Fareham not expecting sympathy in Royals derby

Fareham Town manager Matt Parr. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (142587-1116)
Fareham Town manager Matt Parr. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (142587-1116)
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Relegation-battling Fareham Town are not expecting any favours from neighbours AFC Portchester in tonight’s Wessex League premier division derby at Cams Alders (7.45pm).

With just four games left, the Reds are four points adrift of rivals Christchurch.

Manager Matt Parr accepts his team face a huge task to stay up and will need to raise their game against the Royals.

‘A fierce local derby could be just what we need because there will be a lot of passion out there from both teams,’ said Parr.

‘We don’t expect any sympathy from Portchester.

‘I am sure they would love nothing more than to hammer a few more nails into our coffin.

‘They gave us a good beating at their place over the Christmas holiday period but we have got a totally different team.

‘Since then we have brought in about eight or nine new players.

‘We can take encouragement from our home record which has been good and seen us beat top sides like Portchester and Petersfield in cup games.

‘Our next three games are at home and we have to make the most of that.

‘What we need is a lot of people coming along and getting behind our attempt to pull off a great escape.’

Fareham are boosted by the return of influential pair Bradey Norton and Louie Martin.

Norton has made a big difference in the centre of the Reds midfield and weighed in with some vital goals.

Martin has been a mainstay in the heart of the defence.

However, Parr accepts that beating Portchester presents his team with a huge challenge.

He said: ‘Portchester have been impressive this season and have only lost once since Christmas.

‘We will have to play well above ourselves to get a result.

‘That often happens, though, in derby games when form can go out of the window.’

Visiting manager Graham Rix will be expecting a positive response from his players after they were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw by lowly Bournemouth on Saturday.