Step into the unknown for US Portsmouth as they prepare for Portsmouth Senior Cup tie at much-changed Moneyfields Reserves

US Portsmouth manager Tom Grice wants his side to end a run of three successive defeats by booking their spot in the Portsmouth Senior Cup quarter-finals.

By Lewis Mason
Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 11:48 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 12:43 pm
Simon Woods, right, is expected to miss US Portsmouth's cup trip to Moneyfields Reserves after coming off injured on his debut at Christchurch. Picture: Keith Woodland
Simon Woods, right, is expected to miss US Portsmouth's cup trip to Moneyfields Reserves after coming off injured on his debut at Christchurch. Picture: Keith Woodland

But the USP boss stressed he won't be taking two-divisions lower Hampshire Premier League Senior Division leaders Moneyfields Reserves lightly when the sides meet in the competition's second round stage at Dover Road tomorrow night.

Grice admitted had the tie taken place just a few weeks back he would have known virtually all of the Moneys squad US Portsmouth are coming up against.

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But with the mid-season mass changes, the USP boss is coming up against somewhat of an unknown quantity.

But no matter what side Moneyfields Reserves put out, Grice intends on fielding a strong team in an attempt to put right a run of three successive defeats in all competitions.

The USP boss said: ‘I’m not probably going to know too many of their players. If it had been three or four weeks ago I’d have known nearly all of them.

‘By all accounts, it’s very much now a mixture of genuine under-18s and a few older heads.

‘I’m not going to be predicting any score and I’m also not going to be taking them lightly.

‘There will be a couple of lads who perhaps will get some minutes - I’m yet to finalise my starting 11.

‘But we won’t be taking them lightly. The last thing we want, especially after a run of three games without a win, we don’t want to be losing this game.’

New signing Simon Woods is expected to miss the second round tie after being forced off injured in his first game since signing from Fareham Town in USP's 2-0 defeat at Christchurch on Saturday.

But Woods' replacement, Vinnie Magee, is in contention for a start after impressing Grice with his showing at Christchurch.

Mould won’t be at Dover Road as he is still self-isolating, meaning Simon Hayes and Rob Fowler will be in charge – as they were for Saturday’s 2-1 HPL Senior win against Liphook.

Changes will have to be made as Morgan Moret wasn’t signed on in time to play against USP, while Danny Burroughs is cup tied having turned out for Moneys’ first team against Clanfield last week.

Moneys could field experienced pair George Way and James Lacey, both signed on in recent weeks following the exodus to Clanfield. Way has started the last two games while Lacey could make his first appearance on Wednesday.

‘It’s a free hit for the lads,’ said Mould. ‘The message will be, they’re a higher division team – go out and show you belong on the same pitch as them. It will certainly be good experienced for our younger players.’

Moneys stretched their lead over Denmead to three points at the weekend after Toby Toman and young striker Finn Gibbs scored in the last three minutes to beat Liphook, while Denmead were drawing 2-2 at Colden Common.

Moneys have three more league games before Christmas – away to Hayling, Stockbridge and Denmead.

‘I’m looking for a minimum seven points,’ declared Mould. ‘I know we’ve lost a lot of players but with the players we’ve signed and the players coming back from injury, we’re still competitive.

‘Denmead play Locks Heath the day we play Stockbridge, so we could stretch our lead by Christmas. However, it could easily go the other way – the run-up to Christmas will be quite critical.’

Tyler Moret, Harry Bedford and Chad Cornwell are three players who have been out injured who could get reserve minutes before they are considered worthy of a first team call-up.

The winners of the Moneys Reserves v US Portsmouth cup tie will travel to Gosport Borough, the highest ranked club in the tournament, in the quarter-final.

Additional reporting by Simon Carter