Hoolihan on revenge mission

12/11/11  sport''Portsmouth in black/yellow V Cobham, rugby action at Hilsea. Pictured is Portsmouth's Greg Hoolihan - captain ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (114006-10)
12/11/11 sport''Portsmouth in black/yellow V Cobham, rugby action at Hilsea. Pictured is Portsmouth's Greg Hoolihan - captain ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (114006-10)
Steve Cruddas will start for Havant. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Matthews: Unbeaten streak key to Havant’s promotion charge

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Portsmouth captain Greg Hoolihan warmed up for Hove’s visit to the Rugby Camp and warned: We’re ready for you.

The skipper reckons his side have what it takes to snatch a top-six finish in London one south.

Currently sitting 10th, he is confident they can take another step towards that goal with a revenge win over the Sussex side.

Portsmouth went down to a 46-6 defeat at the hands of Basingstoke last week.

But Hoolihan is backing them to bounce back to winning ways tomorrow – with a typically explosive display up front on home turf.

‘We have been good at home all season and have won our last three games at Rugby Camp,’ said the captain.

‘When we played at Hove earlier in the season we threw the game away and are looking to get revenge for that.

‘They raced into a 21-0 lead before we pegged them back to 21-21 only to concede two late tries.

‘Hove possess two very pacy wingers, so we’ll have to make sure our defence out wide is secure.

‘We had a lot of success up front against them and we will be looking to take them on in that area again.’

The home side are boosted by the return of their playmaker and leading points scorer Andy Barnes at outside-half.

Barnes, who joined from Petersfield, has made a big impact with his strong running and excellent distribution bringing Portsmouth’s powerful three-quarters into the game.

His reliable goal kicking has also made the difference in tight games.

And his presence will boost the confidence of the side.

‘Andy is a big, strong boy and he doesn’t shy away from any tackles,’ said Hoolihan.

‘As third leading points scorer in our league, he is an important figure in our side.

‘He makes us tick and we are glad to have him back.’

Though Portsmouth find themselves just above the bottom four, Hoolihan insists they are looking up rather than over their shoulder.

Their fate lies in their own hands and, with a series of home games to come, should have little to worry about.

‘We are definitely targeting a top-six finish,’ said Hoolihan.

‘A lot of the teams around us still have to come to Rugby Camp and the aim is to win all our remaining home games.

‘It is a realistic aim but it does mean we have to achieve greater consistency in the final few months.’

In-form Hove will be no push-overs, though, coming into the game with three consecutive league wins under their belt.

Portsmouth: Bion, Duffus, Richards, Chandler, Gee, Barnes, O’Connor, Cripps, Hoolihan, Hankey, Crabb, French, Bowen, Richardson, Farmer