Portsmouth are gunning for back-to-back derby victories

Jack Easterbrook will start for Portsmouth at Petersfield. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Jack Easterbrook will start for Portsmouth at Petersfield. Picture: Habibur Rahman
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Jim Pearce. Picture: Neil Marshall

Portsmouth are aiming to keep their treble challenge alive

Jim Pearce

Pearce expecting another tight contest against Trojans

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Portsmouth are aiming for more derby joy when they travel to Petersfield in London three south west tomorrow (2pm).

Jim Pearce has challenged his troops to build on their 26-5 success over Trojans last weekend.

The visitors are third in the league and just six points adrift of the top two. Another win could see them close the gap.

Pearce insists Portsmouth need to remain focused.

‘It is another local derby and form goes out the window in these games,’ the director of rugby said.

‘We beat Petersfield at our place earlier in the season so they will be going all out to put that right.

‘In that game, they put in a good performance and they possess a pack of forwards that can trouble us.

‘We have to be prepared for that and be ready to counter them in that area.

‘The team showed against Trojans that they can raise to the challenge.

‘They showed a lot of heart, courage and desire.’

The visitors make a number of enforced changes in the forwards, with hooker Greg Houlihan ruled out with a nose injury.

As a result, Anthony Fooks moves from the back-row, with Jack Easterbrook coming into the side.

Darren Leggott is also handed a start in place of the unavailable Gareth Fizpatrick.

The only change in the three-quarters, due to rotation, sees Mark Ovens come in at centre and Luke Simmons reverts to the bench.

Meanwhile, United Services Portsmouth put their unbeaten record at second-placed Bognor in Hampshire one.

The West Sussex side will be fired up heading into the clash following a surprise defeat at Sandown & Shanklin last weekend.

Services hold a six-point lead at the top and another win will keep them firmly in the driving seat.

Player-coach Rich Neil recognises the importance of the game to both teams.

He believes the winner of the encounter will likely go on to clinch the title.

Neil said: ‘Whoever wins this probably goes on to win the league.

‘Bognor know they have to win to keep their hopes alive so will come at us all guns blazing.’

In Hampshire two, Southsea Nomads are looking to carry on where they left off before Christmas as they host Southampton.

In their last game before the festive period, Nomads pulled off an impressive win over former leaders Locksheath Pumas.