Havant challenged to take big opportunity

James Read   Picture: Ian Hargreaves
James Read Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Portsmouth out to turn tables on Cranleighans

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Will Knight believes Havant can make a big statement by beating third-placed Guildford in London one south at Hooks Lane tomorrow (2.30pm).

The improving hosts have moved up to sixth spot and have already shown themselves to be competitive against the top sides.

League-leaders Wimbledon were lucky to scrape a draw and Sidcup only beat them by one point.

Knight is pleased with his side’s league standing but insists there is more to come.

‘I have said to the players this game is a huge opportunity for them to make a mark,’ said the head coach.

‘They need to repeat the intensity of performance that saw them blow Basingstoke away.

‘It is vital they don’t let those standards drop and if they can do that then we will stand every chance of getting something out of the game.

‘Against Basingstoke we went up a notch playing intelligent rugby with a great level of intensity and they couldn’t handle us.

‘When we play like that we are a very difficult side to beat.

‘There is no reason now why we can’t go into every game believing we can win.’

Knight is boosted by the return of four key players who he believes can make a big impact.

James Read returns from his rugby-playing travels in America to take his place at full-back.

Read is an extremely talented footballer who can play in a number of positions in the back line.

He is an elusive runner and the home side will be looking to bring the proven try-scorer into their attack.

At scrum-half Havant can once again call on the services of Jake Reynolds, who has been a big asset already this season.

Meanwhile, the experienced Steve Cruddas returns to the back-row with Joe Davis also available again in the second row.

‘We have shown we can take anyone on in this league,’ added Knight.

‘The challenge now is to make sure we do that consistently.

‘We are sixth in the league but I have aspirations to go higher.

‘If we can take maximum points from the three games we have before Christmas then we can be pushing up there.’

Guildford are a bit of an unknown quantity – having been promoted into London one south at the end of last season.

They are expected to provide a robust challenge, though, and Knight predicts his team will need to be at their best.

‘It could be the toughest game we have faced at Hooks Lane this season,’ said the head coach.

‘I want us to take the game by the scruff of the neck from the start.

‘We are in a good place at the moment and have players coming back all the time.’

HAVANT: Read, Wilkes, Brierley, Knight, Living, Sweeney, Reynolds, Marks, Cooksley, Ward-Golden, Davis, Copeland, Brook, Cruddas, Munden, Powell, Janes, Morris