MONEYFIELDS manager Miles Rutherford views tonight’s Wessex League premier division derby against AFC Portchester at Dover Road as a real test of character (7.45pm).
The city club have to pick themselves up off the canvas following their shock 5-1 drubbing at Lymington Town.
It was a sobering experience for Rutherford and he knows life won’t be any easier against opponents who are unbeaten in their last eight games.
‘We can’t afford to feel sorry for ourselves and need to get back out there and sort it out,’ said Rutherford.
‘There are no excuses for the defeat at Lymington we just weren’t good enough.
‘We under-performed and were well and truly beaten.
‘Sometimes you have to take it on the chin and get on with it.
‘This is one of those times and we will now see how much heart we have got.
‘Before Christmas we were playing well but have fallen away a bit since then.
‘We are not going to win games while we have up to half our team playing below their potential.
‘It doesn’t help that a number of our players are still not fully fit after coming back from injury.
‘With games against Follands and Winchester City to follow there is a danger we could go on a bit of a meltdown.’
In contrast, AFC Portchester will arrive full of confidence, buoyed by the fact they have not lost since Christmas.
The Royals extended their unbeaten run with a good 3-1 win over high-riding Blackfield & Langley.
Director of football Mick Jenkins believes their hosts’ heavy defeat in the New Forest will only make them more dangerous.
‘We won’t read too much into that result,’ said Jenkins.
‘They gave us a good going over at our place early in the season and they possess two of the most dangerous strikers in our league.
‘Steve Hutchings and Alfie Rutherford have scored over 60 goals between them this season.
‘Our back five are in terrific form though so it should be a fascinating duel.’
In division one, United Services Portsmouth travel down the Waterside to meet Hythe & Dibden.