PORTLAND United assistant manager Sam Poole has tipped Monday’s opponents Hamworthy United to win the Wessex League Premier Division this season.

Poole welcomes the Hammers to the Camp & Satherley Stadium on Monday (3pm), Tim Sills’ men lying three points off top spot with two games in hand on leaders Horndean.

Hamworthy have conceded just 14 goals in 21 games and Poole admitted the Blues will have their work cut out against the County Ground outfit.

He told Echosport: “I would be surprised if Hamworthy don’t win the league. If not, we know they’re going to be right up there in the top three.

“They’re a good side but we gave them a good game when we came to their place earlier in the season, although we came away losing 3-1.

“We got off to a flying start and could’ve been more than a goal ahead after scoring our goal.

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“But at home we’ve been in good form. I don’t think there’s much other local football happening on Monday, so hopefully we’ll get a good crowd.

“It’s one we’re looking forward to against a top team and how close we can go toe-to-toe with them.”

Portland, who occupy 16th, are unbeaten in their past eight home matches – a run stretching back to the 4-0 defeat by Brockenhurst in late September.

“We’re trying to keep making it a difficult place to come,” Poole added.

“Last couple of weeks we’ve played against some good teams at home – Moneyfields and Portchester – and haven’t lost against either.

“Things are definitely improving. Hamworthy will be another difficult test but we know we’ve got enough in our armour to hurt them as well.”

Liam Sayers (knee) is still injured, while manager Franklyn Clarke is in self-isolation.