Friends reunited as Rams take on former boss

Former Petersfield Town player Joe Briggs    Picture: Neil Marshall
Former Petersfield Town player Joe Briggs Picture: Neil Marshall
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There will be plenty of friends reunited tomorrow when Petersfield Town travel to Winchester City in the FA Trophy (3pm).

It will be the first time the Rams have come up against former manager Ian Saunders since he left the club just before the start of the season to take up the Winchester job.

The preliminary round tie at the Denplan Stadium will also pit Winchester assistant boss Jason Hampson and goalkeeping coach Jamie Cotton against their former club.

And those are just the ties between the two sides on the coaching staff.

On the pitch, Howard Neighbour, Jamie Ford, Joe Briggs and Jason Silver are all former Rams who are expected to play some part in the game.

Ed Dryden – who left Petersfield to sign for Premier League club Stoke City in 2015 – has also joined Winchester this season.

There are some Winchester links in the Petersfield camp, too, just for good measure.

Midfielder Stuart Green played for them during the 2014-15 season when the Rams pipped City to the Wessex League premier division title.

Add into all of that the fact this is a derby clash – just 23 miles separate the two clubs along the A272 – and this has all the ingredients of being an interesting FA Trophy encounter.

Winchester will undoubtedly go into the match as favourites as they have the home advantage and better form – Petersfield have still only won one competitive match so far this season.

City also have the better of the more recent form against the Rams as last season they won twice at Love Lane – a 3-1 FA Trophy triumph and a 4-2 victory in the League Cup.

However, Petersfield’s first and reserve teams have developed the knack of getting their fair share of victories over Winchester in recent seasons.

The last competitive clash at the Denplan between the two senior sides in August 2014 saw the Rams snatch a 3-2 victory – a result that set them on their way to the premier division title.

Petersfield’s hunt for a new first-team manager continues, although club officials are confident they are close to being able to make an appointment.

In the meantime, director of football Gary Lines will continue looking after first-team affairs, assisted by head coach Paul Marsh and goalkeeping coach Tom Best.

The Rams’ major absentee will be midfielder Ryan Woodford who is serving the last game of a three-match suspension tomorrow.