AFC Portchester aim to enjoy that Friday feeling

Ian Saunders is hoping for a bumper crowd at the Blanchard Wells Stadium this evening as AFC Portchester kick-off the Christmas football festivities with a mouthwatering derby against Fareham Town (7.45pm).

Friday, 22nd December 2017, 6:00 am
Dan Hayes, left, and Josh Warren, right. Picture: Neil Marshall (171033-5)

The Royals have the added incentive of claiming a Wessex League premier division double over their visitors.

But Saunders knows the memories of his side’s 2-0 success at Cams Alders earlier this season will only spur the Reds on.

The Portchester boss said: ‘I’m sure our earlier win will rankle with them and they will be massively up for it.

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‘We are hoping to get a good crowd through the gate after the game was moved to tonight.

‘Lots of players from both camps know each other well and that always gives it an added bit of spice.

‘Our form has been a bit indifferent lately but I am still confident we can keep tabs on the leading pack.

‘To do that, though, we have to make sure we win our home games.

‘I am looking for us to get back on track with three points.’

Portchester have central defender Josh Warren in contention once more following suspension.

Fellow defender Dan Hayes is also available again after missing the past three games.

Meawnhile, visiting boss Pete Stiles is hoping to get one over his old club.

He doesn’t think there will be a lot between the two sides.

‘When they beat us, the only difference was their quality in front of goal,’ said Stiles.

‘I think this game will be another tight affair.’

George Davis is ruled out through suspension for the Reds.

Horndean boss Michael Birmingham has warned his team to expect a backlash in their derby against Baffins Milton Rovers at Five Heads Park on Saturday (3pm).

In the first meeting between the two sides, the Deans won 5-1 – handing their rivals a footballing lesson.

Birmingham is expecting a much tougher encounter this time.

He said: ‘We have got to forget about the last game because that is done and dusted.

‘Everyone at Baffins should be very proud of what they have achieved in recent years.

‘They have a terrific team spirit because a lot of their players grew up playing together.

‘We know we will have to be at our best to beat them again.’

Benny Reed returns to action after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Danny Thompson takes charge of Baffins with Louis Bell on holiday.

He is delighted to be involved after leaving Gosport Borough.

Thompson said: ‘I’m looking forward to it but we know it won’t be easy because Michael Birmingham always has his teams well organised.’

Harry Wedlake is back from suspension but Ashton Leigh is banned.