Why tricky trip to Hamworthy is so 'important' for AFC Portchester
Dave Carter emphasised the importance of AFC Portchester avoiding defeat at a Hamworthy side they hope become Wessex League Premier Division title rivals come the end of the season.
The two clubs, who were highly fancied to fight for the league crown before a ball was kicked this season, meet at The County Ground on Saturday.
So far, things have not gone how the Royals would have liked, with just three wins from their opening eight league games leaving them in 12th at present.
But Carter is adamant his men remain as a 'top-six' team in the division - and is eager for Portchester to land their first big blow of the Wessex Premier campaign.
They head to a Hamworthy side who were sitting top when last season was curtailed and reached the FA Cup second round qualifying stage this season.
Former Gosport Borough striker Tim Sills' troops are currently sixth in the Wessex Premier with at least two games in hand on the sides above them and remain unbeaten in seven games so far.
But Portchester boss Carter is looking to inflict a first league defeat on the Dorset side to kick-start his troops’ charge up the table.
The Royals boss said: ‘I believe in this league - there are a couple of different leagues within the Wessex League.
‘You’ve got your top six, you’re going into them games and anyone can beat anyone on their day, it’s how well the games go - I regard ourselves to be in that top six.
‘We don’t want to be losing every game against the top six, it’s when we’ve got to be picking up points, so Saturday is important for me. I know we lost to Brockenhurst but I felt then we could have better against them, personally.’
Portchester have played against two teams in the current top-six already this term - leaders Brockenhurst and third-placed Horndean - and they lost on both occasions.
The Royals did defeat the Deans in the FA Cup in August and now Carter wants a positive result over a leading team in the division.
He said: ‘I think all the teams in that top six, when they play the teams down in the league, they’re expecting to take maximum points in the league.
‘There’s leagues in leagues and it’s these games where you’ve got to get points out of these teams when you’re playing the top.
‘We haven’t done well enough, we’ve lost to Brockenhurst and we’ve lost to Horndean (in the league), so Saturday is very important for us.’
Midfielder Marley Ridge (hamstring) and Curt DaCosta (knee) will be assessed prior to the Hamworthy trip after being forced off in the midweek win at Hythe & Dibden. But Ryan Pennery should be back available after missing out at Hythe because of illness.