McRoberts focused on pulling clear of dogfight

Tim Snowden
Tim Snowden
Joel Knight. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

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Senior coach Neil McRoberts is urging Gosport & Fareham to ignore the London one south relegation issue as they head into derby action against Tottonians at Gosport Park tomorrow.

The RFU are penalising fourth-placed Medway due to player registration irregularities, leaving four clubs involved in a relegation dogfight at the bottom of the table battling it out to avoid the other two places.

The Blue & Golds are one of those clubs, but McRoberts insists his troops can pull clear of danger.

‘We have told the players to forget about the situation and focus on winning games,’ said McRoberts.

‘As far as we are concerned, that is off the radar and isn’t part of our mindset.

‘We know there is still a lot of work to be done and what has happened to Medway doesn’t change anything.

‘All we are interested in is getting points on the board so that we are nowhere near being involved in relegation come the end of the season.

‘There is a lot of rugby still to play but between now and May the time will fly and in this period we need to be far more consistent.’

McRoberts is the first to admit that once again his side have been plagued by a lack of consistency in team selection.

Time and time again, particularly away from home, Gosport have travelled with a far-from-strongest line-up.

That is something that will need to change in the closing months of the campaign.

It won’t be easy against Hampshire neighbours Tottonians, who have already handed out one thrashing to Gosport earlier in the season.

‘I think the game at Tottonians was the low point of our season,’ admitted McRoberts.

‘It was a total non-event as far as our performance was concerned.

‘We were nowhere near physical enough and that allowed them to impose their game on us very early on.

‘So we know that this is a game where we need to be ultra-physical from the start.

‘The opening exchanges will be important and it is a time when we will need to win the physical collisions.’

McRoberts is boosted by the return of experienced forwards Tim Snowden and Chris Thompson, who will add an abrasive edge.

Trevor Westerman is in the second row as the home side go with a powerful front five in a bid to disrupt the visitors.

Since Christmas Gosport have won one and lost two games, and McRoberts knows his team need to pick things up.

‘A couple of wins will put a totally different perspective on things,’ he added.

‘We face a big three weeks leading up to our massive 10-point relegation battle at Dover. The right results will allow us to put some daylight between us and the teams below.’