Deans will aim for Andover repeat... Royals moving up

HORNDEAN are aiming for a league and cup double over Wessex League premier division leaders Andover Town when they go to the Portway Stadium on Tuesday night (7.45pm).

Monday, 29th January 2018, 2:40 pm
Updated Monday, 29th January 2018, 2:42 pm
Deans boss Michael Birmingham. Picture: Neil Marshall

Michael Birmingham’s side knocked their north Hampshire rivals out of the FA Vase earlier in the season winning 4-3 after extra-time.

The visitors know the home side will be fired up to make amends for that disappointment.

Though Horndean’s form has been up and down recently they pulled off a remarkable win at Portland on Saturday.

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They trailed 3-0 at the break but produced a stunning fightback to run out 4-3 winners.

But they probably won’t be able to give the league leaders such an advantage.

There is no doubt from the Deans camp that they need to be on top form.

Birmingham expects his team to have to be even better than they were against Portland if they are to upset Andover in the league.

The Deans boss said: ‘We certainly won’t be able to give Andover a three-goal lead that’s for sure.

‘Andover possess a fantastic side, containing a lot of experience and quality.

‘Make no bones about it we are up against the champions elect.

‘It is going to be a tough ask and probably our toughest game of the season.

‘We have to respect them but at the same time we won’t be going there fearing them.

‘In the first half at Portland we were very naive and got punished for it.

‘Andover will do the same if we offer them the opportunity.’

The visitors are boosted by the availability of Jack Maloney who wasn’t available for the last game.

With the 11 that finished the last game doing so well he may have to settle for a place among the substitutes.

AFC Portchester entertain Bemerton Heath Harlequins at the Blanchard Wells Stadium on Tuesday night (7.45pm).

Joint-manager Mick Catlin is urging the Royals to chalk up a third successive home win in their bid to close the gap on the leading group.

They are still hopeful they can manage to achieve a high finishing position.

‘We have to keep winning to get closer to the promotion places,’ said Catlin.

‘I am looking for us to carry on where we left off in our wins against Hamworthy and Lymington.

‘The pitch was wet and heavy at the weekend and the club have been working hard trying to put it back together.

‘Another win will put us right back up there.’