Havant must get back to high standards for Thurrock contest after Chichester stumble

Havant were beaten by Chichester last time out and know they need to improve for the match against Thurrock. Picture: Keith Woodland (190119-768)
Havant were beaten by Chichester last time out and know they need to improve for the match against Thurrock. Picture: Keith Woodland (190119-768)
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Will Knight insists Havant will need to regain their spark if they are to return to winning ways against Thurrock in their London one south contest at Hooks Lane on Saturday (3pm).

The home side were surprisingly flat in their 28-19 derby defeat against Chichester.

It was a hugely disappointing performance and result against a team below them in the league.

Sixth-placed Thurrock are likely to prove equally challenging opponents.

The home wins against top three sides Brighton and Camberley have shown, however, that on their day Havant are capable of competing with the best.

Knight expects his team to bounce back and regain their standards.

The head coach said: ‘Up until our last game we have been very good and we must not get too hung up on one performance.

‘We hit a bit of a trough against Chichester and it is difficult to put our finger on it.

‘Whether it was fatigue or a bit of a bug going around we don’t know.

‘We didn't have the same energy we had shown in previous games.

‘It is that we need to re-establish this weekend.

‘All the players were disappointed in the slip in our standards.

‘We know you are only as good as your last game.

‘Ours was woeful and we need to regain our momentum.’

Knight is pleased to field an unchanged front row with powerhouse hooker, Jerome Trail, shaking off a couple of injuries to start.

Trail is a big player for Havant and an individual opponents worry about.

His pace and low centre of gravity make him very difficult to stop.

Knight added: ‘At his best Jerome is a real handful.

‘Defenders find him very difficult to put down.’

With Alex Bruce unavailable Dan Porter returns to the second row.

Porter put in some impressive performances over the Christmas period.

In the back-row the vastly-experienced Steve Cruddas replaces the unavailable Joe Davis.

The one change in the three-quarters sees the return of Wayne Dugan who missed the last game through illness.

Luke Warrington drops to the bench.

Knight knows Thurrock are strong from previous experience when they beat Havant.

He said: ‘We lost narrowly at Thurrock earlier in the season and are keen to right a few wrongs.

‘It won't be easy because they have turned over a few top sides.

‘They will be a tough nut to crack.’

Havant are hoping to have their captain and influential three-quarter Joel Knight back in the next few weeks.

There is a chance he could be back in contention for the next game in a fortnight’s time.