Royals out to stop rot... Deans eye derby joy
Graham Rix is urging AFC Portchester to stop the rot by beating Horndean in their Wessex League premier division derby at Wicor Rec tomorrow (3pm).
After suffering just one defeat in the calendar year the Royals have lost three of their last four games.
That has badly dented their promotion hopes, leaving them nine points behind second placed Blackfield & Langley with just one game in hand.
‘It has been a bit of a shock to the system and something we are not used to,’ said Royals manager Rix.
‘We need to get back on track if we are to rekindle our promotion chances.
‘At Newport it was disappointing because again we created lots of chances but failed to take them.
‘Horndean is a massive game for us and we need to regroup and dig ourselves out of this little hole.
‘It will be a test for all of us.’
Goalkeeper Lyall Beazley could return after missing midweek through work commitments.
Alex Lowley and Sean Thurgood are definite absentees through injury.
For the Deans it is the start of a daunting 10 days with five games all against top sides – Blackfield, Sholing, Moneyfields and Salisbury.
Manager Craig Pearce knows his team will need to be better at defending set-pieces against the Royals.
Horndean led 2-0 against Moneyfields in midweek only to be pegged back by two goals from corners.
‘Portchester are probably the best footballing side I have seen this season so I am hoping for a cracking game,’ said Pearce.
Pearce has the luxury of picking from a virtually full-strength squad.
Fareham Town are in a buoyant mood as they travel to Bournemouth Poppies seeking vital points in their relegation battle.
The Reds thumped Hamworthy United 3-0 in midweek to boost their points tally.
‘We put in an excellent performance with everything clicking into place,’ said Red’s manager Steve Stone.
‘It is remarkable when you consider we have eleven midfield players in our squad with many playing out of position.’
Stone expects to introduce Army defender Matthew Evans for his debut.
Moneyfields are without injured Gavin Spurway for their visit to Bemerton Heath Harlequins after the midfielder pulled a hamstring in midweek.
Manager Dave Carter is boosted by the return of Robbie Pitman, Jake Raine and Louis Martin.
– KEVIN RICKETTS