Havant are out for revenge in this Sunday’s derby clash with EHL men’s conference west rivals Fareham at Henry Cort (1.30pm).
Havant squandered home advantage earlier in the season, succumbing to a 6-2 defeat, and will look to make amends in the last game before the mid-season break.
Club president Chris Pickett is confident much-improved Havant will provide a far sterner test for their opponents this time out.
He said: ‘The defeat to Fareham was our second league fixture and it is fair to say we have come a long way since then.
‘Defensively we were very poor and lacked understanding in other departments, which is not surprising since it was a very different squad that needed bedding together.
‘I thought Fareham played well that day and took their chances, but we will certainly be a different outfit on Sunday.’
Seventh-placed Havant, who slipped to a disappointing home loss to Whitchurch last weekend, are hopeful Jamie Askham will overcome a fitness test after receiving a blow to the ribs in that loss.
If Askham returns, the visitors will be at full strength, a welcomed luxury shared by hosts Fareham.
And the Henry Cort-based side are hoping to secure a domestic double over Havant.
Manager Nigel Cook, whose side sit a point and a place below Sunday’s opponents, believes a win is vital if Fareham are to pull clear of ninth-placed Whitchurch.
He said: ‘Whether we like it or not we are both in a relegation battle.
‘It is a local derby, so there will be that added element of spice to proceedings, but the most important thing for both sides is the three points.’
He added: ‘To get a win under our belt going into the mid-season break would be massive.’
Cook’s side are boosted by the return of Adam Le Page, who will relish facing Havant, having scored in Fareham’s emphatic 6-2 victory earlier in the season.
Havant Ladies host Woking at Havant College tomorrow (1.30pm).
Last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of Epsom leaves second-bottom Havant without a victory in their first seven South Clubs’ Women’s league division one matches.