Havant still have room for improvement

Mike Deller-Merrick scores for Havant in their derby-day draw against Fareham last weekend  Picture: Mick Young
Mike Deller-Merrick scores for Havant in their derby-day draw against Fareham last weekend Picture: Mick Young
Hannah Oldham battles for the ball in Fareham Ladies' 2-1 victory over Southampton. Pictures: Chris Moorhouse

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Havant head coach Merijn van Willigen has asked for more from his side as they look to build on an encouraging start to their new season.

The Barncroft Way outfit entertain second-placed Indian Gymkhana on Sunday in the National League conference west (2pm).

Havant go into the game on the back of a three-match unbeaten run – with an 8-0 thumping of Crawley in the National Cup last Sunday coming 24 hours after a battling 1-1 league draw with rivals Fareham in the south-coast derby.

Both results – plus a 5-2 win against Cheltenham – helped boost confidence levels in the Havant ranks following an opening-day defeat at the hands of Team Bath Buccaneers.

But van Willigen believes his squad still have much more to offer.

‘We are looking to improve on last week’s performance against Fareham,’ he said.

‘We had a number of chances that we could not capitalise on, which was frustrating.

‘There were also a few defending issues with the goal that we conceded – things that we cannot let happen again.

‘Ahead of this week’s fixture, the team are going in with a positive spirit.

‘We are on a good run and we are beginning to understand our strengths within the team.

‘We will have to capitalise on all of the attacking chances we get.

‘I am looking for a top-half finish for the club – but this is something that will only be possible if we start playing well against the top teams.

‘I go into every game with a positive attitude.

‘And if we get off on the good foot we will be in with a chance.’

London-based Indian Gymkhana go into Sunday’s meeting second in the league standings behind leaders Cardiff.

Two wins and 12 goals from their opening three games – plus a draw at Fareham – has made for an excellent start to their first conference west campaign. Meanwhile, Tejinder Hanspal’s seven goals this term have propelled him to the top of the scoring charts and made him one to watch ahead of the game.

Van Willigen, however, has been doing his homework on Sunday’s visitors and has insisted his players will be well-versed on Gymkhana’s game.

‘The team have been watching video footage of India Gymkhanna so that we can analyse our next opponent’s strengths and weaknesses,’ said van Willigen.

‘The videos have allowed us to adapt our training for the fixture, which will hopefully put us in a good position.

‘We also have to try to keep Hanspal from scoring.’