Familiar faces to boost Gosport survival bid

Gosport & Fareham's Wes Dugan
Gosport & Fareham's Wes Dugan
Havant full-back Ben Chambers. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (181102-1)

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GOSPORT & Fareham will have some experienced faces back as they look to cause a London one south upset at Sidcup (3pm).

Mark Wells’ side have found life tough in their new surroundings after last season’s promotion, losing four of their opening six games.

Wells accepts the club face a battle for survival this season but has been boosted by the return of some familiar faces ahead of the trip to Kent.

Influential scrum-half and last season’s leading try-scorer Wes Dugan is one who is lined up to return after a spell playing in France.

His reappearance is expected to have a big impact on team performances – as is the timely returns of Ash Burton, Jonathan Wood, Chris Thompson and Sam Foster.

‘Wes is one of the best rugby players this club has produced and we are pleased to have him back,’ said Wells.

‘He has a terrific work-rate and, in reality, should be playing two or three levels higher.

‘His return should give the rest of the squad a massive injection of confidence.

‘He is a try scorer and his presence in the side adds to our fire-power and the ability to hurt opposition.

‘If we’d had that little bit more experience against Beckenham last week we could have won instead of drawing the game.’

First-choice prop-forward Burton is available after a couple of weeks out.

Meanwhile, the forwards are also strengthened by the return of Wood, playing his first game of the season, and Thompson – who has been touring Australia with the Royal Navy representative side.

Foster comes back in to the three-quarters after two weeks away on police duties.

‘It is all about survival for us this season.’ added Wells.

‘We are in a group of about six clubs at the bottom who are going to have to scrap it out.

‘It will be about who can show the most grit and resilience.

‘We need to be able to compete and continue building within the club to produce players who can play at this level.

‘I am convinced we will be able to do that.

‘I am looking for a competitive performance at Sidcup, but even with the players returning, whether we have enough to win remains to be seen.’

Sidcup are currently fifth in the league after winning four of their opening six games.

GOSPORT & FAREHAM: Ash Burton, Nathan Titchener, Dan O Donoghue, Dai Whitehead, Josh Gamblin,

Mark Pollard, Matt Smith, Ben Madigan, Jack Basher,

Chris Thompson, Matt Flower, Cameron Brew, Sam Foster, Alex Duncombe, Vetaia Veiteve, Dave Cleary, Wes Dugan, Wayne Dugan, Alex Heron, Ryan Thorne