Portsmouth make cup trip into the unknown

Ian Chandler. Picture: Mick Young (112783-15)
Ian Chandler. Picture: Mick Young (112783-15)

Portsmouth out to turn tables on Cranleighans

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AYLESFORD BULLS will represent an unknown quantity for visitors Portsmouth in the London & South East Division Cup tomorrow (3pm).

The London two south east hosts play at the same level as their south west counterparts but, aside from that, coach Ian Chandler admitted the visitors know little of their Kent-based opponents.

‘I know absolutely nothing about them to be brutally honest,’ said Chandler.

‘We tried to get a bit of intelligence on them but that seemed to be pretty sparse.

‘Nobody seems to know an awful lot about them.

‘If we are serious about getting involved in the end-of-season play-offs, though, then these are potentially the sort of teams that we could be playing against.

‘It will be interesting to see what they are like and where we stand.’

Portsmouth, who currently sit in sixth spot following two wins from their opening three south west matches, will be boosted by a peak at their opponents’ early form.

The hosts prop up the south east table with no wins from their opening trio of games.

But Chandler is taking nothing for granted heading into the tie.

Having witnessed his side secure a hard-fought 21-15 success over Tadley last time out, the Rugby Camp chief sees no reason to change a winning formula.

He said: ‘We will be taking the best possible squad available.

‘We are tried and trusted with where we are.

‘We are developing the squad and trying to get some unity in it, so that is what we are trying to do

‘If you go into a competition you want to do as well as you possibly can.

‘We are not one to believe that the cup is of any lesser importance than the league, so we will be taking it seriously.

‘For want of a better phrase, we are in it to do as well as we can.’

While the squad remains much the same, Portsmouth winger Ed Hopkins will be handed a debut at Aylesford.

Chandler added: ‘He’s one of our lads who has come up through the ranks and is an exciting prospect for the future.’