Havant face season-defining period

Skipper Joel Knight is a key man in the centre for Havant. Picture: Mick Young
Skipper Joel Knight is a key man in the centre for Havant. Picture: Mick Young
Tom Whitehouse. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-81)

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Havant’s campaign remains in the balance, according to head coach Will Knight.

The Hooks Lane boss reckons the fate of the current season hinges on his side’s next few results.

Havant kick off the second half of their term with a derby at Chichester tomorrow (2pm).

Knight’s side put some daylight between themselves and the drop zone as they improved in the run-up to the Christmas break.

But the head coach has warned the squad they must guard against complacency between now and the end of the campaign.

‘Our season hinges on a few results,’ said Knight.

‘Two wins or two losses can put a whole different complexion on our season.

‘Wins would see us on the coat tails of the leading teams and defeats would put us back down with the relegation battlers.

‘Our target is to pick up the points we should be getting.

‘That is something we didn’t do in the first half of the season.

‘Looking back there were four games where we should have picked up points but didn’t.

‘If we can improve on that and turn those results around then we will be okay.’

Knight insists Havant are very much still in rebuilding and consolidation mode following last season’s relegation from National League rugby.

At the start of the current campaign they struggled to come to terms with life in London one south.

Slowly but surely, though – and after a lot of hard work on the training ground – the squad are starting to grow in confidence in their new surroundings.

Against Gosport & Fareham before Christmas, Havant took command early on and played with a level of intensity which left the visitors struggling to cope.

Now Knight is aiming for the improvements to continue over the next few months.

‘We have a mixture of a few old heads and a lot of youngsters,’ said the Havant boss.

‘I have been pleased with progress but we still have areas to improve and a lot of hard work to do.

‘Chichester will show us how far we have come because they beat us heavily at the start of the season.

‘We have improved but it will still be a big challenge for us.

‘All the pressure will be on them, though.’

Chichester will be tough opponents for Havant.

The Sussex outfit have lost just two fixtures this season and are currently the closest challengers to runaway leaders East Grinstead.

Havant, meanwhile, will be without outside-half Dave Sweeney, who sustained a broken jaw and cheekbone in the Gosport game.

Pete Living is likely to come into that position, which will allow captain Joel Knight to remain in the centre where he has become increasingly effective.

The skipper showed in the clash with Gosport that he’s capable of making searing breaks down the middle and creating opportunities.

‘Our midfield has been functioning well and we are loathe to change it,’ said the head coach.

‘Pete has come in a number of times for us this season and done well.’

Knight is also waiting on the availability of flying winger Jarryd Robinson.