IF Weymouth Sports are to record their first win of the season tomorrow they will have to do it the hard way by defeating reigning champions Portland United Reserves at Cranford Avenue (3pm).
Sports have picked up just two points from their opening three games in the Dorset Senior League but joint-boss Chris Hicks is confident his men can give the Blues a run for their money.
He said: “It is a local derby so I know the lads will be up for it and we should have a few coming back as well in Sam Culpin, Scott Walker, Chris Evans and Robbie Rolls.
“Those four are all experienced players and they will give us a lot more options.
“We are still without Josh Stroud, who has a thigh injury, while Stu Dixon is due to have an operation and is likely to be out until Christmas.
“Stu is a fantastic player and we all wish him well and look forward to seeing him back soon.”
Portland have enjoyed a steady start to their title defence but they did slip up last time out at Mere Town where they fell to a 1-0 defeat.
Chris Povall, Adam Anstey and Sean Zima, who have signed dual registration forms, will return to parent club Weymouth while Jason Pearce is unavailable. However on the flip side, Phil Anderson and Pete Bochonko are expected to return.
Upwey’s Pete Jarvis, who is sidelined with a groin injury at the present time, said: “Gillingham is always a tough place to go and it marks our first away game of the season following three at home.
“Phil is set to come back in but unfortunately we will be without Jason Pearce, who is a big player for us.
“The likes of Chris, Adam and Sean will also be back with Weymouth but there is a good chance Pete will be fit.
“He did the warm-up last weekend but although he really wanted to play we decided not to risk him.
“The only other doubt is Charlie Kenderdine, who is struggling with a hamstring injury.”
Upwey and Gillingham are both on six points but the former sit two places above the North Dorset outfit in the table courtesy of a superior goal difference.