Six of the best out for Portsmouth

Tom Whitehouse, centre, is out for Portsmouth this weekend
Tom Whitehouse, centre, is out for Portsmouth this weekend
Steve Cruddas will start for Havant. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Matthews: Unbeaten streak key to Havant’s promotion charge

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Portsmouth find themselves badly hit by injuries and unavailability as they look to get their London two south west campaign back on track at Effingham & Leatherhead (3pm).

After starting the season with a win, the Hilsea-based club’s promotion ambitions have been dented by two successive defeats.

And six key players are missing tomorrow as coach Ian Chandler plots a recovery against the Eagles, who are just one place above Portsmouth in the table and on the same number of points.

‘The depth of our squad will certainly be tested,’ said Chandler.

‘Alhough we have lost a couple of games, we don’t feel we are too far away.

‘We haven’t altered our ambitions and goal of gaining promotion back into London one.

‘It is just a case of dotting the is and crossing the ts.

‘There is still a lot of confidence that we can reverse both those losses in the second half of the season.

‘We don’t want to be losing many more, though.’

Chandler added: ‘Our opening three games were against teams who will be at the top come the business end of the season.

‘It is vital that we maintain the same level of performance but learn the lessons from the defeats.

‘At times, we have not shown enough nous.

‘We have tried to play attractive, running rugby in the wrong areas and have been punished for it.

‘It is also important that we start taking the opportunities when we create them.’

Last week’s two-try hero, full-back Curtis Barnes, is unavailable and will be a big loss to the visitors.

Matt Morgan, Tom Whitehouse, Rich Farmer, Dan Neville and Tom Hankey are also all missing.

Sandy Duffus and Cameron Duffus make a timely return after a long period of unavailability.

‘It won’t be easy,’ said Chandler. ‘It never is away from home but we must look to tether the Eagles and pick up points.’