Royal Navy backed to impress against big rivals

The Royal Navy in Jersey
The Royal Navy in Jersey

Jackett: Fourth place now open to Pompey

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MARTY WALLACE is expecting a full-blooded battle when the Royal Navy take on the British Army at Aldershot’s Recreation Ground on Wednesday (7pm).

The head coach takes charge of his first inter-service championship match since switching roles last August.

He was formerly the navy’s under-23s coach and led the team to the development title last year.

Wallace, who is also a first-team coach at AFC Portchester, has introduced a younger crop of players into his squad.

The Scot has also set a three-year plan to win the inter-service title and then defend it.

The navy, whose side features Royals striker Andy Todd, are aiming to get revenge on the army after last year’s 4-0 defeat.

The army have a far bigger pool of players to pick from. But Wallace insists his team can get the victory.

He said: ‘The games are always feisty in the first 20 minutes.

‘Usually, the referee lets the first challenge go and doesn’t issue a card.

‘The army have much bigger pool of players to pick from. They have around 100,000 whereas we have about 30,000.

‘Also, the navy boys are often here, there and everywhere away doing service.

‘Since I became head coach, I’ve moved some of the old guard and got some younger players into the set-up.

‘We also have Andy Todd, from AFC Portchester playing, who has scored six goals for us this season.

‘Rather than a squad of 18, I now have 30 players involved and any one of them can go out there and do a job.

‘Last year, the boys had a few players missing but I’ve got the squad I want for this game.

‘On our day I think we have the quality to beat anyone.’

The navy have warmed up for the game by playing two friendlies. Both ended in defeat but they were against better opposition.

Last Tuesday, Wallace’s side suffered a 4-0 loss to Pompey Reserves at Burnaby Road.

Dan Smith bagged a hat-trick and Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain was also on target.

They then travelled to Saint Helier on Saturday to face a Jersey FA side and were defeated 3-1.

However, Wallace believes those games will stand his team in good stead ahead of the clash.

The head coach added: ‘We have had two tough games but I’d much rather come up against better opposition and be pushed.

‘The Portsmouth game is the first game since I took charge that we haven’t scored in. We played well against Jersey and went down to 10 men.

‘In the inter-service games, you can often have a man sent off so it gave us a chance to prepare if that’s the case.’