Rix targets derby delight as Royals battle Reds

AFC Portchester defender Craig Hardy   Picture: Neil Marshall
AFC Portchester defender Craig Hardy Picture: Neil Marshall
Blu Boam in action against Bashley. Picture: Keith Woodland

No blues for Boam on Baffins return

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Graham Rix is insisting AFC Portchester end the year on a high by beating Fareham Town in their Wessex League premier division derby at Cams Alders tonight (7.45pm).

The third-placed Royals have applied to make the step up into the Southern League next season and to do that they will need at least a top-two finish.

They have already slipped up once this season against the Reds in a surprise League Cup defeat earlier this season.

Rix is demanding a big improvement from that last meeting and also from their last league game when they dropped two points at home against Whitchurch United.

‘We have to be a lot better,’ said Rix.

‘Against Whitchurch we got ourselves into a lot of good positions but failed to make them count.

‘It was very disappointing.

‘We have to start converting draws into wins.’

The Royals are forced to reshuffle their team because Joe Noakes, Gary Moody and George Wells are on holiday in Thailand.

Central-defender Craig Hardy returns after suspension and reserve-team defender Jordan Fancy gets a chance.

‘I am sure we will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season,’ added Rix.

Fareham manager Steve Stone is optimistic the game can go ahead, if there are a couple of days without rain.

The Reds have been plagued by a collapsed drain in one corner of the pitch and the wet weather.

It means they have hardly played in the past six weeks.

Stone, however, can take a lot of encouragement from their last outing when they lost 2-1 at Sholing Sports.

But the boss admitted he is down to the bare bones, with just 12 players available.

‘We just need to be playing games,’ said Stone.

‘Though we are badly depleted, we still want the game played.

‘As it is, we already have a growing fixture backlog which could see us playing three games a week at the end of the season.’

The derby between Horndean and Moneyfields has been postponed as the Copnor club are involved in the FA Vase – and travel to Brimscombe & Thrupp for a third-round replay (7.45pm).

– KEVIN RICKETTS