Chandler: It’s time we stepped up to the plate

Tom Hankey return to the fold after missing the past six weeks with a shoulder injury
Tom Hankey return to the fold after missing the past six weeks with a shoulder injury
Scott Morris. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Havant chief rues missed opportunity

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Portsmouth coach Ian Chandler has made no attempt to play-down the significance of tomorrow’s London one south clash against Beckenham at Rugby Camp (3pm).

With his team back in the bottom three, Chandler knows anything other than a win will increase the pressure on his relegation-battling side.

The city club have already beaten Beckenham this season and a repeat performance would be very welcome.

‘We need to win three out of our last four games to make sure we stay up,’ said Chandler.

‘Frankly, it’s in our hands and if we don’t stay up it will be our own fault.

‘This is without a doubt a big game.

‘It would be nice to get the wins we need sooner rather than later because it would take a lot of the pressure off.

‘We had a comfortable win up at their place but they do possess a dangerous winger who can cause us problems.

‘In recent weeks we have dominated games up front but have paid the price for not making it count.

‘Our defence has also not been good enough and we can’t afford to miss tackles.

‘Sometimes we have also been guilty of taking the wrong options and putting ourselves in trouble.’

The home side have been hit by a series of injuries that have ruled out key players, making life difficult for Chandler.

Powerful second-row-forward Darren Crabb will miss the rest of the season due to a fractured eye socket, while Will Brock (shoulder) and Sandy Duffus (knee) are other absentees.

Outside-half Dan Neville is unavailable due to his medical duties.

Chandler is, however, boosted by the re-appearance of tight-head prop Tom Hankey after a six-week absence due to shoulder problems and winger Steve Gee from a hamstring injury.

‘We have been badly hit by injury and unavailability all season and that has been one of our biggest problems,’ said Chandler.

‘When we have a full-strength side we have competed and even beaten some of the top sides in our league.

‘Individual performances have been okay but we must improve our overall team co-ordination.

‘It is time for the leaders in our side to step up to the plate.

‘It is important that we stay in this league, particularly as it looks like Havant and Gosport & Fareham are coming into it next season.’

Portsmouth: Barnes, Gronow, Richards, Chandler, Gee, Carpenter, Cutler, Cripps, Hoolihan, Hankey, Richardson, French, Bowen, Long, Crabb J, Lynch, Sargeant, Nichols, Fraser