Havant aim to upset leaders again

Havant and Fareham in derby action. Picture: Allan Hutchings (14390-859)
Havant and Fareham in derby action. Picture: Allan Hutchings (14390-859)
Niall Stott Picture: Neil Marshall

Fareham edge thriller at Havant

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Havant will be looking to bounce back in their upcoming away fixture to leaders Indian Gymkhana in National League conference west on Sunday (2pm).

After their 5-2 defeat to rivals Fareham last weekend, Havant will be fired up for the contest.

Opponents Indian Gymkhana have a strong team and will pose a difficult test.

But Havant coach Merijn van Willigen insists his men have what it takes to record an upset – something they have achieved once this season against the leaders already.

He said: ‘This weekend’s fixture will be a stiff challenge as they are a very experienced team who know how to get under your skin.

‘However, we have to remember we beat them in our previous fixture so we are able to perform to their high standards.

‘The team has worked hard at training this week to try to sort out the problems that we faced in the Fareham fixture.

‘We have watched the video of our previous fixture against Gymkhana to try to repeat anything we did well before.’

Havant are expected to make a few changes to the team.

Tod Freedman is set to return after missing his first fixture of the season last week, while a couple of youngsters are set to be introduced.

Meanwhile, defender Jonathan Pickett is aiming to lay to rest his frustration after the derby defeat.

Van Willigen added: ‘Pickett was disappointed with the result against Fareham.

‘We have had some heart-to-hearts with him and other team members in order to boost morale.’

Meanwhile, Fareham travel to Cheltenham for their Sunday fixture (1.30pm).

Their spirits were buoyed by the 5-2 derby triumph.

And the Henry Cort outfit will be looking to continue their run of good form against relegation-fighters Cheltenham.

Fareham know if they lose the two teams will be level on points.

And head coach Steve Lemon does not want Fareham’s latest victory to distract them.

He said: ‘The team was very happy with last weekend’s result.

‘But we are trying to not let that affect our game.

‘We have still trained hard this week because we want to take another three points this weekend.

‘The team will be unchanged from the previous fixture.

‘I feel all the players deserve their place.

‘The game against Cheltenham will be another close battle.

‘But hopefully we will perform to the standards of last week and continue to climb the table.’

There are just six games left of the season and Fareham are determined to ease clear of the relegation scrap into mid-table.

Lemon added: ‘We are taking the season one game at a time and do not want to look too far into the future.

‘It would be nice to finish top of the bottom half of the table.

‘But it is all quite close so we will have to see what happens.

‘We are just hoping we can get enough points to move away from the relegation zone so that we can secure our place for next season.’