Moneys and Royals gear up for derby

Alfie Rutherford. Picture: Neil Marshall
Alfie Rutherford. Picture: Neil Marshall
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Moneyfields are hoping tonight’s Wessex League premier division derby against AFC Portchester will attract a bumper pre-Christmas crowd to Dover Road (7.45pm).

The league leaders are looking to bounce back to winning ways after losing to Winchester City earlier in the week.

That was only the second league defeat of the season for Miles Rutherford’s title-chasers.

But he is expecting another test from the Royals.

‘We have switched the game to Friday night in a bid to get a few more people through the gate,’ said Rutherford.

‘It is an attractive local derby and should be a good game.

‘We thumped Portchester at their place earlier in the season but that will count for nothing in this game.

‘They are a much better team than their league position might suggest.

‘We are still stretched by our injuries and that showed against Winchester, though I couldn’t fault the attitude and effort from the players.

‘It is a case of us licking our wounds and getting on with it.’

The home side are boosted by the news their young goal-machine Alfie Rutherford has recovered from the illness which forced him off in midweek.

Royals manager Graham Rix wants an improved showing from his team.

‘We have had a little blip in form recently and I am looking for us to come through it,’said Rix.

‘This is a big game for both teams.

‘They gave us a right pasting at our place and we are determined to give a better showing.’

Striker Simon Woods is not available for Portchester.

Horndean manager Dave Carter is demanding all three points from the visit to basement side Totton & Eling.

‘We have a habit of not being at our best against the lower sides,’said Carter.

‘In our last four games we beat two top six sides and a Conference National team only to lose at Fawley.’

Second-placed Petersfield Town host a top-of-the-table clash against Newport at Love Lane (3pm).