Havant eye revenge on home turf

Sam Cooksley. Picture: Sarah Standing (142799-7)
Sam Cooksley. Picture: Sarah Standing (142799-7)
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Havant are determined to regain the south-coast bragging rights by beating Gosport & Fareham in their London one south derby at Hooks Lane tomorrow.

Defeat at Gosport Park earlier in the season was a bitter blow for Will Knight’s team.

Since then Havant have shown a big improvement, though.

And they are confident of making the most of home advantage to turn the tables on their visitors.

‘This is a big game for us and one where we want to put things right,’ said Knight.

‘When we lost to Gosport early on it was probably our worst performance of the season.

‘They played to their strengths and we ended up well beaten.

‘This time we have to go out and play our game and not worry about what they will do.

‘We must aim to dictate matters and impose our game on them.

‘It is important to win the battle up front and to do it smartly.

‘Our forwards are mobile and agile, so our aim will be to move the ball around into areas we can exploit.

‘The last thing we want is to get embroiled in an arm wrestle.’

Havant have improved since the early weeks of the season and have pushed a number of the top teams very close.

But they are still hunting for some consistency and come into the game on the back of three defeats.

Havant are set to shuffle their pack tomorrow.

Jared Hayler returns at number eight, with Dan Munden carrying a knock.

Jo Davis slides back into the second row, while Sam Cooksley moves into the front row and Mike Davis is at blindside wing-forward.

The dangerous three-quarter line remains unchanged.

‘We know our backs are capable of causing problems for anyone in our league,’ said Knight.

‘When we give them quality ball in the right areas of the pitch not many teams can handle them.

‘To do that, it is crucial our key decision-makers read the game and manage it well.

‘It will also be important we take our opportunities when they come along.

‘We have the potential to be a top-three side but to achieve that we have to be far more consistent.

‘Hopefully that will start against Gosport this weekend.’

Gosport & Fareham have other ideas and Neil McRoberts is eyeing a first away win of the campaign.

‘Games don’t come any bigger than this one locally,’ said the coach.

‘It is an epic way for both teams to head into the Christmas break and I am expecting it to be a cracking encounter.

‘We started the season better than them and bloodied their nose by beating them at our place.

‘But apart from the five points we picked up, that result will mean nothing.

‘Havant have improved and on paper will start as slight favourites.

‘Our away form hasn’t been good enough and that is something we are desperate to improve. Being a derby gives it extra spice.’

HAVANT: Wilkes, Brierley, Read, Knight, Living, Sweeney, Reynolds, Marks, Cooksley, Morgan, Copeland, Davis, Brook, Cruddas, Hayler. Replacements: Ward-Golden, Young, Morris

Gosport & Fareham: Penfold, Heron, McRoberts, Dugan Wayne, Holling, Foster, Dugan Wes, Gilmartin, Gamblin, Blackburn, Pollard, Wakefield, Roberts, Snowden, Thompson. Replacements: Jones, Daly, Wilde