Havant go in search of season’s first

Winger Ed Wilks has returned from France and will go straight into the Havant side for the visit of Brighton Picture: Mick Young
Winger Ed Wilks has returned from France and will go straight into the Havant side for the visit of Brighton Picture: Mick Young
Steve Cruddas will start for Havant. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Matthews: Unbeaten streak key to Havant’s promotion charge

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Havant host south coast rivals Brighton as they look for their first London one south win at Hooks Lane this season.

With just one league win so far this term – at Beckenham – Havant have slipped back into the relegation zone.

Head coach Will Knight admits this is a big game for the club as they look to put another much-needed win on the board.

‘It’s now all about getting results,’ said Knight.

‘We cannot afford to keep coming off and saying we have played well without getting any reward.

‘Our form has been far too patchy and we must become more consistent throughout our games.

‘We have had a number of good young players come into the side and it just takes a little time to bed them in.

‘The frustrating thing is that we have played well enough to have picked up a couple more wins than we have.

‘Unfortunately, we have paid the price for our inconsistency and lack of concentration at times.

‘I can’t knock the effort and hard work being put in both on and off the pitch, but we need wins.’

Havant will have to show a big improvement on last week’s poor showing at Gravesend, where they slumped to a disappointing defeat.

Knight regarded it as his side’s poorest performance of the season to date, as they failed to establish any creditable platform at set-pieces.

The coach was also disappointed his players failed to adapt and change their approach when it clearly wasn’t working.

‘We didn’t vary our game when we needed to,’ said Knight.

‘Our three-quarters are a match for anyone in our league and can cause opponents a lot of damage.

‘But we need to have a front-foot platform to do so, otherwise we find it tough.’

The home side make a number of changes as they come up against a number of former club-mates playing for Brighton.

Forward Bruce Neil may have to put family loyalties to one side for 80 minutes if he comes up against brother and fellow second-row player Richard Neil, who plays for the visitors.

Ex-Havant captain Steve Cruddas is also in the visitors’ ranks.

‘It would be good to prove a point to our former players who left us when we were at crisis point in national three a few years ago,’ said Knight.

‘The game has an extra bit of spice becuase of that.’

Ed Wilks comes in on the wing for the first time this season after returning from France, and prop-forward Luke Marks returns from honeymoon.

Hooker Pete Austin is still away on army duties.

‘We must start consolidating our position in the league,’ said Knight

‘Beating Brighton will be a big step towards achieving that.’

Havant: O’Brien, Wilks, Brierley, Knight J, Blackburn L, Sweeney, Morris, Ward-Golden, Cooksley, Marks, Barfoot L, Goodger, Copeland, O’Gorman, Neil