Royals and Reds go for glory

AFC Portchester's Nathan Kirby Picture: Mick Young
AFC Portchester's Nathan Kirby Picture: Mick Young
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AFC Portchester and Fareham Town bring the curtain down on their seasons tonight with a showcase Russell-Cotes Cup final at Wicor Rec (7.45pm).

The two Wessex premier sides are keen to finish their campaigns with the local bragging rights.

Reds boss Matt Parr thinks it is a perfect way to end a long, hard season.

‘It is always nice to finish with a cup final, particularly against your neighbours,’ said Parr.

‘We will go into it as the underdogs because Portchester are a good side.

‘Graham Rix and Louis Bell have done a great job there, signing some quality players.

‘I fully expect them to be favourites to win our league next season if Sholing are promoted.’

Fareham duo Matt Jones and Kieran Lewis are big doubts but exciting 18-year-old prospects Bradley Haimes and Steve Golding are likely to get a chance.

‘For some of our older players this could very well be their swansong as I am planning to make a number of changes throughout the summer,’ added Parr.

‘It would be nice if we could go out and nick a win.’

Portchester director of football Mick Jenkins believes lifting the cup would be just reward after a good season.

‘We finished eighth in the league and would have been higher but for a points deduction,’ said Jenkins.

‘This is the first senior cup final for the club and we are all looking forward to it.

‘The players have worked hard all season and this is just reward for all their efforts.

‘We know it won’t be easy to win it because Fareham are a good side and well-organised under Matt Parr.

‘It was a close-run affair in our 3-2 win over Easter but Fareham fought back at us hard.

‘Also, being a local derby, it is bound to be closely fought.’

The Royals are without striker Nathan Kirby (knee), while midfielder Jack Salter-Vaile faces a late fitness test.

Danny Audin is unavailable but Jamie Musselwhite is fit to return after missing the final league game at Sholing.