US Portsmouth's opportunity to seize chance against 'form team' and fellow Wessex League Division One title rival Andover New Street
US Portsmouth boss Glenn Turnbull is hopeful his side can lay down another marker in the Wessex League Division 1 title race this weekend.
The leaders entertain the division’s form team in fourth-placed Andover New Street for what promises to be an intriguing battle at Burnaby Road.
USP head into it on the back of an impressive 4-1 win over fellow promotion chasers Alton last time out.
However, their record against the other title hopefuls this season does not make for good reading.
Turnbull’s troops have lost four times in the league, with those defeats coming against second-placed Downton, Hythe & Dibden – in third – (twice) and fifth-placed Alton.
But he is hoping last weekend’s success will have given his side confidence they can perform against fellow title rivals.
Andover New Street arrive at Burnaby Road on the back of nine successive victories in all competitions - with recent signing Gerson Ramos belting eight goals in his last two matches (five against Totton & Eling and three against Fawley).
‘It’s been the team talk for the past couple of weeks (putting down a marker),’ revealed Turnbull.
‘It was just nice to take points off a close rival in Alton and put a little bit of breathing space between us.
‘It’s not necessarily beating the teams around you, it’s about making sure you pick up points everywhere else.
‘We’ve lost to Downton, we lost to Alton and we’ve lost twice to Hythe, they’re the only four games we’ve lost.
‘Last week was important (against Alton) to prove to themselves that we can do it against the top teams.
‘We played Bemerton and beat them as well who are a top side.
‘But we’re really conscious that everything is just game by game.’
If US were to win this weekend, they would open up a seven-point gap on Andover, though having played three games more.
‘Don’t get me wrong, Saturday is not do-or-die,’ added Turnbull.
‘If we were to beat Andover, we’d be seven points clear of them.
‘They’d then have to win their games in hand.
‘It’s all very well having those games, but you’ve got to win them.’
US will be without defender Tom Cain, who is serving the second of a three-match ban.