Cup quest for Blues

CUP TRADITION: Alex Halloran on the ball in the 2008 semi-final against Poole Town

CUP TRADITION: Alex Halloran on the ball in the 2008 semi-final against Poole Town

First published in Sport by

CHRIS Wilson hopes to up-hold Portland United’s cup tradition when they begin their Dorset Senior Cup campaign at Wareham Rangers tomorrow (2.30pm).

The Blues have enjoyed some impressive runs in the competition in recent years.

Dave Kiteley and Brendon King led the islanders to the final in 2008 while last season saw United reach the semi-finals before losing out in extra-time to reigning champions Dorchester Town.

With those memories still fresh in the mind, Wilson’s current crop will be gunning for victory at their Magna Dorset Premier League rivals.

The manager said: “We have always had good runs in the cup, going back to the days of Dave Kiteley and Brendon King.

“I said at the start of the season that the players are under no pressure to deliver trophies, the pressure comes from within and that should be their motivation and drive tomorrow.

“With cup runs you are always in the lap of the gods in terms of who comes out of the hat.

“If you get a decent draw you can quite easily go on a decent run but to do that we need to overcome the first hurdle, which is Wareham.

“At Senior League level they were always a decent footballing side, but I know little about them since they have progressed to the Premier League.

“We will pay them the respect they deserve but we will just prepare ourselves the right way and make sure we give them a game.”

Chickerell United are also in Senior Cup action at high-flying Holt United (2.30pm) where they will be without several players.

Josh Tennant and Aston Butcher cannot feature on the orders of their parent club Dorchester Town, while Dan Welch and Jon Welch are both unavailable and Liam Beades is ruled out through injury. Speaking ahead of the first round tie,

Chickens’ boss Maurice Welch said: “Dorchester do not want Josh and Aston cup-tied and with the other three missing as well it is not ideal.

“Sean Stewart and Jake Price should return though and although going to Holt is going to be extremely tough, there is no pressure on us at all and we can just look to enjoy it.”

The Bulls currently sit second in the Dorset Premier League, eight points above the Chickens, who lie fifth.

Weymouth Reserves are expec- ted to welcome back Ben Doidge and Sean Zima for their home clash with Tintinhull (3pm).

A young Terras outfit claimed a 1-1 draw at Bridport Reserves last weekend and joint-boss Jake Richmond will be looking for a similar performance.

He said: “We were buoyed by our performance at Bridport and hopefully we can now continue that.

“There were eight teenagers in the starting XI in that game and another couple on the bench. All of them have great potential and if we can start getting some consistency out of them it will bode very well for the future.

“Sean and Ben should be back with us this week but even though they are back, I wouldn’t have any qualms starting the same team as last week.

“Charlie Holland could also be back from injury so we should have a strong squad to choose from.”

Bridport Reserves host Merley Cobham Sports at St Mary’s Field (3pm) where they will be looking for an upturn in fortunes after taking just one point from their last two games.

Bees’ boss Robin Townsend said: “We have just got to keep going and persevering. With a reserve side it is not always about results, it is about performing and getting players ready to step up to the first team.

“Having said that though, a lot of the players have played at this level for a while and they should know how to see games out now.

“We haven’t been able to do that in the last couple of weeks and we just need to learn to take more of our chances and keep our concentration for longer.

“Merley beat Portland recently and are unbeaten in five so they are going to come here on a high, looking to keep their run going. It promises to be another very tough game.”

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