Desperate Havant chasing big upset at Exeter

Sam Broadhurst in action for Havant against Guildford last weekend. Picture: Mick Young (14325-05)
Sam Broadhurst in action for Havant against Guildford last weekend. Picture: Mick Young (14325-05)
Matt Cox opened the scoring for Havant in their defeat at Cheltenham.  Picture: Keith Woodland

Havant fall to defeat at Cheltenham

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With two games left to save their season, relegation-threatened Havant travel to the University of Exeter on Sunday desperate to pick up valuable points.

It is now 10 games since the Barncroft Way side managed to record a victory.

And time is running out in the National League conference west, with Havant only off the bottom on goal difference.

Head coach Merijn van Willigen, however, believes his side can upset the form book and produce a surprise result this weekend.

He said: ‘Exeter can’t win the league anymore and they are safe.

‘So maybe they will have taken their foot off the gas.

‘Some of that motivation to play well on a week-to-week basis may have gone.

‘And if it has, then we have to make absolutely sure we capitalise on that.’

This weekend’s game comes off the back of a devastating blow to Havant’s survival hopes last weekend.

They lost 1-0 to fellow strugglers Guildford.

That brought home the reality of the relegation threat they face.

Van Willigen said: ‘Until that time, nobody believed we might not beat Guildford.

‘It was a little bit soul destroying.’

In addition, van Willigen’s side suffered another setback with the news influential England under-18 international, Ollie Nail, will be out for the rest of the season with a hamstring tear.

‘It is a loss for us and a shame for Ollie, missing his last few games before University,’ said van Willigen.

‘It is a real setback for him.’

As for any changes, van Willigen believes he has nobody else who can come in that will be able to make a difference.

It’s up to the current squad to the deliver the goods.

‘I don’t think we have a charismatic figure in the squad that we could just deploy,’ added van Willigen.

‘We are very much in the opinion that we got ourselves into this situation unnecessarily and we have to get ourselves out of it.’

To get points out of the match on Sunday, van Willigen believes he can take positives from good results in previous seasons against Exeter.

It will give the team confidence to know they are capable of delivering.

Van Willigen added: ‘We have taken points off Exeter before and there is no reason why we can’t again.

‘Beyond that, we have a style of play that we are comfortable with, although people say that it hasn’t brought very much.

‘We have to remind ourselves that, earlier in the season we went on a winning run and we were beating just about anybody.’