MONEYFIELDS face a tough test of their title credentials when they take on local rivals Horndean in the Wessex League premier division tonight (7.45pm).
Dave Carter’s front runners need to keep their advantage over the chasing pack but their visitors to Dover Road are in superb form as well.
The Deans will show no fear and both teams will have to be ready for a very competitive Wessex League contest.
Carter expects a good atmosphere for the contest and he has a few players who are struggling with knocks.
He said: ‘We all love a derby and there is sure to be a good crowd.
‘For us it is a case of patching up some of our older players after our win at Hamworthy.
‘Their 4G pitch was hard on them and there are a few aches and pains.
‘Horndean’s players are young and fit so we will have to try to match them.
‘We have won 17 of our past 18 games though so we can go into it with confidence.
‘It should be a cracking game.’
The home side have young striker Dan Simmons available again.
They are waiting on the fitness of Gary Austin who has been struggling with an ankle injury.
Carter decided not to risk him on the artificial surface at Hamworthy.
Defender Curtis Da Costa is another doubt due to a foot injury.
Horndean will also be confident of causing an upset after their terrific 4-1 win at Blackfield & Langley.
That match really helped Moneys in the race to seal the league crown.
Manager Michael Birmingham, however, is under no illusions about the challenge for his side when they take on the leaders.
He said: ‘Dover Road is probably the toughest place to go in our league.
‘To win there you have to be very disciplined just like we were at Blackfield.
‘We are up against the team who probably deserve to be champions.
‘I think people are starting to realise that we are a good team and will go there with a game plan.
‘It is a free game for us because we are not expected to win.’
Birmingham is boosted by the return of Ashton Leigh from suspension and Jack Warren from work commitments.
Fareham Town entertain relegation battling Fawley at Cams Alders (7.45pm).
The Reds have climbed the table superbly and enjoyed an excellent 2-2 draw with high-fliers Portland on Saturday.
– KEVIN RICKETTS