Havant need a big lift from Brighton trip

Wayne Dugan. Picture: Neil Marshall
Wayne Dugan. Picture: Neil Marshall

Havant are looking to get their season going in London one south when they head to Brighton on Saturday (3pm).

Last season's play-off challengers have faced a difficult start with defeats at Medway and Camberley.

The situation isn't helped by having to play each match away.

A new 4G pitch is being installed at Hooks Lane and isn't likely to be ready until the end of next month at the earliest.

Head coach Will Knight accepts this brings added pressures.

He said: ‘We know there is a chance that we won't have the luxury of playing at home until the beginning of November.

‘In many ways having the new pitch and facilities is very exciting for the club.

‘However, it is a bit of a distraction from the business of getting on in the league.

‘Having to get on a coach and travel every single week brings added pressures.

‘Not all the players can commit themselves to doing this.

‘Work and other commitments come into it and it can make a big difference.

‘At the moment across the senior squad we have about 40 players not available.

‘We won't use this to make excuses, though, and the teams we are putting out are still good enough to win games.’

Knight accepts it won't be easy up against Brighton.

Games between the two teams are usually hard-fought affairs.

The visitors make a number of changes and notably give a league debut to former Gosport & Fareham player Wayne Dugan on the wing.

After showing great loyalty during his long career at Gosport Park, Dugan decided to make the step up in the summer.

In the forwards Jack Ward-Golden and Joe Johnson come into the front row.

Fraser Bruce and academy product Will Owen also come into the pack.

Knight believes his players can move up a few levels from what they have shown so far.

He added: ‘We must get back to playing the brand of rugby we know that we are capable of. The focus is on getting the win.

‘We have to step up because in the last couple of games we have fallen below the standard acceptable at Havant.

‘Brighton have started well and are always a difficult proposition on their own pitch.’