Promotion top of Havant’s priorities

Sandeep Singh. Picture: Sarah Standing
Sandeep Singh. Picture: Sarah Standing
  • Barncroft Way outfit host Old Cranleighans in league curtain-raiser
  • Sandeep Singh among stars returning to the club for title challenge
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Havant begin their league season on Saturday and have only one target in mind – to win promotion.

The club narrowly missed out on going up from South League premier division one last term because of a lack of discipline in the crucial matches – particularly against Sevenoaks, when they were leading on both occasions.

But now they are looking to stamp that out as the season gets under way against Old Cranleighans at Havant College (3pm).

The Barncroft Way side go into the game on the back of a morale-boosting 6-3 victory over National League side Oxted in the English Hockey Cup last weekend.

Coach Ady Adams said: ‘I’m feeling very confident about our team and our chances of promotion.

‘We’ve replaced one or two players with some experience.

‘There’s competition for all the positions and I’m really excited about what we should be able to achieve.’

Sandeep Singh, Maciej Janiszewski and Thomasz Nowicki have all returned to the club, while former Guildford player Duncan Marsh has also joined the outfit.

Attacker Adam Bloomfield has also come back to Havant after a spell away from the club.

Sam Broadhurst has joined National League side Chichester Priory Park, while Lawrie Bowden and JJ Brown have gone to university.

In a bid to improve on last season, Havant have employed fitness coach Guy Guppy.

‘We’re are taking a more scientific approach to our fitness so our players can continue right to the end of games,’ added Adams.

He has also targeted some other key areas the side can improve on to ensure they gain promotion.

‘We’re concentrating on removing some of the individual discipline that cost us in key games towards the end of last season,’ said the coach.

‘We also want to remove some of the complacency against the weaker sides in the division.’

Adams will have a full squad of 20 players available for selection for tomorrow’s opening encounter against Old Cranleighans.

He added: ‘Old Cranleighans have had some very mixed results in pre-season.

‘But you never know what kind of availability they’ve had.

‘They finished fourth last year and had a really good end to the season.

‘You can never tell how good opponents will be in the first match of the season, though.

‘All we can do is concentrate on our own game.’

Havant’s division also includes two newly-promoted teams in Banbury and Henley.

Adams added: ‘They are two good, strong teams.

‘Henley have a few ex-international players playing for them.

‘It wouldn’t surprise me if they were in the top four.’

Fareham travel to Cardiff & Met in National League conference west on Sunday (12.30pm).

Ben Barnes’ side are still looking for their first win of the season but will face tough opposition in Cardiff, who are top of the league with three wins out of three.

Havant Ladies travel to Reading 1A in South Clubs’ Women’s League division one tomorrow.

Push-back is midday at Sonning Lane.