Royals target Wembley glory

Craig Hardy is suspended for AFC Portchester Picture: Neil Marshall
Craig Hardy is suspended for AFC Portchester Picture: Neil Marshall
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AFC Portchester set off on the FA Vase Wembley trail tomorrow, when they host Abbey Rangers in the first round at Wicor Rec (3pm).

The Combined Counties League visitors made headlines recently when their game against Dorking was abandoned at half-time.

Players and supporters were involved in a ‘fracas’ in the tunnel and dressing rooms, causing the referee to call the game off.

The Royals will be aiming for a trouble-free passage into the next round, but manager Graham Rix insists they have to go about it the right way.

‘We didn’t perform at all against Gosport Borough in our Portsmouth Senior Cup game,’ said Rix.

‘The way we waved the white flag in the 5-1 defeat was very disappointing.

‘It was unacceptable and it is vital that we show greater determination and desire in the Vase.

‘Our league is the highest level in this competition so getting to Wembley is a realistic prospect.

‘Chances to play at Wembley don’t come around very often and this is where it starts.

‘It is up to us to make the most of it.’

The home side have Craig Hardy suspended and Sean Thurgood has only a 50-50 chance of being fit.

Jack Salter-Vaile and Lewis Gill are both missing through injury.

Dave Carter returns from holiday in time to take charge as Moneyfields host Western League Corsham Town at Dover Road (3pm).

Assistant-manager Matt Jones has been preparing the Copnor club for the tie.

‘We have got a few suspensions kicking in and one or two players are cup-tied,’ said Jones.

Horndean are also facing Western League opposition, with Barnstaple Town visiting Five Heads Park (3pm).

Newly-appointed Craig Pearce is looking for his first win as Deans manager after starting with a 2-0 league defeat at Sholing Sports last weekend.

In the Wessex League premier division, Fareham Town hope to have three or four players returning for the trip to Cowes Sports (3pm).

The Reds could see goalkeeper Charlie Searle, defender and captain Luke Heard, and forwards Ash Tattersall and Bradey Norton back from injury.

‘Cowes are a young side like us so it should be a good game,’ said Reds manager Steve Stone.

‘After losing two games we must look to go there and get back on the winning track.’