FOOTBALL: Cup showdown as Bees face Blues

Dorset Echo: DERBY GOAL: Portland’s Joe Toghill scored in the league meeting with the Bees DERBY GOAL: Portland’s Joe Toghill scored in the league meeting with the Bees

BRIDPORT Reserves and Portland United put the bread and butter of the league to one side tomorrow as they go toe-to-toe for a place in a cup semi-final.

The sides face each other in the last eight of the DPL League Cup at St Mary’s Field (2pm) in the first of successive meetings between the two.

The Bees and Blues clash at the same venue in the Dorset Premier League next Saturday, but for now they are focused on winning tomorrow and setting up a semi-final encounter with Mere Town.

Fitness and availability issues mean Portland boss Gary Bailey won’t be finalising his squad until the morning.

However, he is looking forward to the tie and building on his side’s victory over Holt last time out.

“It’s important we build on last week’s win and I am looking to see some steady improvement in our quality as we get a run of games going,” he said.

“It’s always good to be involved in the latter stages of cup competitions and there is a different feel to knockout matches as form and league position has less bearing on the outcome.

“It often comes down to which team wants it the most on the day and produces the performance that sees them through to the next round.

“We are expecting a tough afternoon as Bridport will obviously be going all out to progress and we are looking forward to what should be a well-contested cup tie.”

Meanwhile, Bees’ boss Robin Townsend has played down his side’s chances of progressing to the last four somewhat by claiming that Portland are favourites to go through.

And on league positions he would be right, with third-placed Portland currently three places and eight points better off than the St Mary’s Field outfit.

The islanders also won the previous meeting between the sides way back in August thanks to strikes from Joe Toghill and Adam Linaker.

“I’m hoping we will be quite strong and with no first-team game we may have one or two of their players,” said Townsend.

“Portland are a good side and will be favourites to win, but we know, as everyone has said, anybody can beat anybody in this league.

“We’ll show them the respect they deserve but we are going to give it our best. As a reserve side, we have to try and improve everybody and do our best for the first team, but if we can go on a nice cup run we will take that.”

Weymouth Reserves are without a game this weekend.

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