Home comforts key to Gosport hopes

Gosport & Fareham's Sean Shepherd. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (171571-1)

Bridgman: Plenty more to come after away relief

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Gosport & Fareham are looking to exploit home advantage against Sidcup to stay out of the London one south drop zone (2pm).

The Blue & Golds are just one place above the relegation places following another disappointing away result at Chiswick.

Neil McRoberts’ team are still to pick up an away win this season but their home form has been far more impressive.

The senior coach is hoping that the Gosport Park factor can work in favour of his team again.

‘This is another pressure game after all the results went against us last week,’ said McRoberts.

‘We have to ignore the league positions and go into this game with a belief we can win it.

‘At Gosport Park we have already shown that we can more than compete with the top sides.

‘We have to make sure that we are focused and remain committed throughout against the better teams.

‘If we are not then they will punish us.

‘It is important that we start well because if you let a team like Sidcup get a couple of early scores it is very difficult to recover.’

Over the years Gosport have struggled away from home and it is a problem they have failed to remedy.

The trip to Chiswick last week was typical of the problems regularly faced, with McRoberts again forced to field a seriously depleted team.

Injuries and unavailability were compounded by a number of last-minute withdrawals.

‘It was frustrating because it was a game that we could have won if we’d had anywhere near our strongest team out,’ added the coach.

The home side are relieved to see a number of the absentees return for this weekend’s tough test.

Hooker Danny Gamblin is back following a two-week holiday, and Nathan Titchener steps up to replace the unavailable Freddie O’Toole in the front row.

The hosts are back to full-strength in the second row, with Mark Pollard partnering Ben Roberts.

There should be good news too in the back row, with Ben Madigan free from work commitments and Chris Thompson recovered from a shoulder injury.

‘Thankfully, we are able to field a very strong pack,’ said McRoberts.

Wes Dugan returns to his more familiar role of scrum-half after stepping into an emergency wing-forward role at Chiswick.

Sam Foster switches to outside-half in place of Alex Duncombe, and Kieron McRoberts is back in the centre.

‘The changes in midfield will keep us robust,’ added McRoberts.

‘We don’t want to be dropping into the bottom three.

‘With us needing a win there is no better place for us to be than at home.

‘Gosport Park has become something of a banker for us over the years.

‘Hopefully, we can make that work in our favour again.’

Gosport & Fareham: Jack Brawn, Rory Penfold,

Kieron McRoberts, Wayne Dugan, Tom Lewis, Sam Foster,

Wes Dugan, Ben Lanigan, Danny Gamblin, Nathan Titchener,

Mark Pollard, Ben Roberts, Ben Madigan, Tim Snowden,

Chris Thompson. Replacements: Nathan Cooper, Anthony Reynolds, Alex Cooksley