PORTLAND United interim boss Gary Bailey expects a “learning curve” ahead of tomorrow’s Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division clash with second-placed Blackfield and Langley at Grove Corner (3pm).

The Blues dispensed with former manager Simon Browne after Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Horndean.

Bailey, along with a backroom staff including Stuart Heath and Chris Wilson, has been tasked with elevating the Blues from 12th position, one season on from their title-winning campaign.

Speaking to Echosport, Bailey expects his players to “give a good account” of themselves.

He said: “It’s going to be a learning curve. The players have got to take on board what we’re trying to achieve with them.

“The players have got experience and we’ll rely on that to hopefully give a good account of ourselves.

“I’ve come back from a successful campaign but the club’s in a different position.”

Commenting on the challenge of facing the Watersiders, Bailey labelled them a side “full of quality players” and is aiming to improve the Blues’ home record, having achieved just four wins at Grove Corner all season.

He said: “They’re all tough games. Blackfield and Langley are a quality side full of quality players.

“They are an ambitious club, but we’ve got to get in there and look after ourselves. We’ve got to set ourselves up and take it from there. The home record is there for all to see. I’ve been to a lot of those games and they were tight affairs.”

He added: “It’s not like the team are getting battered, they’ve just been edged out. On paper it doesn’t read well and it’s something we want to address. But against a top of the league team I’m not going to make statements that we’re going to start with a glorious victory, it’s going to take time.

“My motto has always been that you look after every game. We’ll go in there and see how it pans out and after that we’ll turn our attentions to Tuesday.”

Sanchez Baker is in line to start after making a substitute appearance against Horndean.