Royals keen to make Vase impression

Portchester midfielder Sammy Igoe
Portchester midfielder Sammy Igoe
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Director of Football Mick Jenkins is hungry for FA Vase success at AFC Portchester as they take on Tunbridge Wells in the third round at Wicor Rec tomorrow.

It is a massive test for the Royals against visitors who are seasoned FA Vase campaigners. Only two years ago the Southern Counties East outfit were beaten finalists at Wembley.

Jenkins is convinced, though, his team will rise to the occasion and give themselves a good chance of reaching the last 32 of the national competition.

‘This is a massive game for both teams,’ said Jenkins.

‘We have the incentive of knowing a win will take us further than we have ever gone before in the Vase.

‘It is vital that we exploit our home advantage and, hopefully, the local support will turn out and get behind us.

‘We have already beaten some good sides like Bitton, Hamworthy, Reading Town and United Services Portsmouth.

‘Sholing showed what Wessex League clubs can achieve by winning the competition last season.

‘We would love to emulate their success.’

Portchester are boosted by the return of experienced midfielder Sammy Igoe and also have Danny Audin and Gary Moody fit again.

New goalkeeper Ross Casey, signed from Winchester City, goes straight into the squad.

Simon Woods, who is cup-tied along with Sean Thurgood, and Louie Castles are missing.

Moneyfields can stretch their lead at the top of the Wessex premier by beating lowly Bournemouth Poppies at Dover Road.

But boss Miles Rutherford is concerned suspensions and injuries are finally catching up with his team.

‘Our injury list keeps mounting up and we are starting to get stretched,’ said Rutherford.

James Lacy starts a two-match ban and Dean Arnold joins the growing injury list with a hamstring problem.

In-form Horndean are in a confident mood ahead of their visit from sixth-placed Follands Sports. A win for the home side could propel them into the top 10.

‘We have lost just once in our last 12 games,’ said manager Dave Carter.