McRoberts has faith in Gosport survival bid

Neil McRoberts remains defiant Gosport & Fareham can still haul themselves out of the bottom three of London one south.

Friday, 8th April 2016, 8:00 am
Mark Pollard will return for the visit of Brighton Picture: Ian Hargreaves

It is a tall order, with only three games left to play, starting against fifth-placed Brighton at Gosport Park tomorrow (3pm).

The Blue & Golds are still reeling from their disappointing defeat at bottom-of-the-league Twickenham and will need to show a huge improvement.

That loss left them three points behind closest-rivals Dover.

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McRoberts, however, still has faith in his team and believes they can rise to the challenge.

‘Losing at Twickenham was a bitter blow for us,’ said the head coach.

‘When you establish a 20-7 lead and are in complete control then you should really close the game out.

‘It is the hardest thing to say but we blew it.

‘Our attention span, our focus, the guts, the desire – there was an element of all that lacking after building our lead.

‘It is frustrating because that was a game that we targeted to win.

‘I know you cannot maintain the intensity we showed in the opening half hour all game, but to stop playing altogether is a big problem.

‘That really is the main issue we have and why we are in the bottom three.

‘In too many games we have failed to concentrate for long enough.

‘On the day, Twickenham wanted it more than we did which is a terrible thing to say.

‘When we had our backs to the wall we gifted them points like it was going out of fashion.’

Once again McRoberts is having to do without some key players this a weekend through suspension and unavailability.

The two Dugan brothers, scrum-half Wes and centre Wayne, are still banned following their recent sendings off against Tottonians.

Experienced forwards Chris Thompson and Ben Lanigan are unavailable due to work commitments.

The home side, however, are boosted by the return to the second row of Mark Pollard from injury.

McRoberts is backing his players to bounce back in a bid to cause an upset against their Sussex visitors.

‘We now have three games left and the reality is that we have to stick together,’ said McRoberts.

‘It is vital that we put last week’s defeat to the bottom club behind us.

‘These things happen and it is now a real test of character.

‘There is no point feeling sorry for ourselves and certainly no point in moping around.

‘It is at times like this that you get a real measure of the players.

‘I think we have enough guys with enough about them that can still get us out of the bottom three.

‘We have to be prepared to have a go and show some old-school guts.’

Gosport & Fareham: Andy Vance, Rory Penfold, Jack Brawn, Max Boyce, Sam Foster, Kieron McRoberts, Levi Hui Hui, Nathan Titchener, Caleb Kingi, Danny Gamblin, Mark Pollard,

Trevor Westerman, Tim Snowden, Ben Roberts, Max Page. Replacements: Tom Lewis, Freddie O’Toole, Anthony Reynolds