Havant aim to put daylight over drop rivals

Joel Knight moves to outside-half for Havant tomorrow
Joel Knight moves to outside-half for Havant tomorrow
Luke Simmons slides in for the opening try. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-1)

Portsmouth closing in on Twickenham dream

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Havant journey to Sidcup looking for a third consecutive London one South win that will take them a step closer to safety.

Victories over Hove and Beckenham took the Hooks Lane club above Cobham and Haywards Heath and moved them six points ahead of Gosport & Fareham, who occupy the final relegation spot.

With five games remaining, Havant coach Will Knight has warned his players they can’t afford to take anything for granted.

There remains little margin for error and Knight regards the game at Sidcup as crucial.

‘If we win then we take a big step towards cementing our London one South status,’ said Knight.

‘But if we lose, we are in danger of slipping back into the relegation mire.

‘That is a place we don’t want to be at this stage of the season and, on the basis of the past two weeks, is somewhere we shouldn’t be.

‘There have been some strange results with the teams around us lately, though, and we can’t take anybody for granted.

‘If we do that then we can become unstuck.

‘Down the bottom it is about who performs on the day and establishes superiority up front.

‘All we can do is take care of what we can control and that is our own performance.’

Havant were ruthless in their ‘fabulous’ win over Beckenham last weekend, with winger Loz Blackburn grabbing a hat-trick of tries.

Knight will be looking for the same level of efficiency at Sidcup, who won earlier in the season at Hooks Lane.

Havant might feel they owe their Kent hosts one as they lost that game in the final seconds.

Tomorrow’s visitors feel they have improved since then and travel believing they have a real chance of maintaining their winning run.

Knight is forced into making two changes, with second-row forward Dan Roberts unavailable and outside-half Pete Living resting after receiving a knock on the head last weekend.

Bruce Neil comes into the pack and a reshuffle in the three-quarters sees Joel Knight move to outside half, with Sam Berridge returning in the centre.

‘When we play with the collective determination that we displayed last week we can be a handful for anyone in our league,’ said Knight.

‘The ability has always been present in the players, it’s just that they haven’t always brought it to their performance on a Saturday.

‘That hasn’t been helped at times by unavailability and injury which have made it difficult to achieve any consistency.

‘It is all about making sure that we play to our true potential.

‘If we do that then we shouldn’t have any problems.

‘Early in the season we lost games we shouldn’t have but now in the closing weeks we have to make sure that doesn’t happen.’