PORTLAND United expect a “battle of wills” at US Portsmouth tomorrow (3pm), boss Kyle Critchell says.

The Blues have dealt well with teams in the bottom five in recent weeks, beating Bournemouth Poppies and Lymington before coming back from 1-0 down to draw with Christchurch after George Stuttle’s red card.

Going into their Velocity Wessex League Premier Division meeting, US Portsmouth reside in 18th and Portland in fifth.

But Critchell is concerned poor weather in the run-up to the match could provide a more level playing field.

He told Echosport: “We’ve made so many good and positive movements this season.

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“Over the last few games we’ve shown our tactical flexibility and tried to mitigate the strengths of other teams.

“We need to go back to focussing on ourselves and seeing what we can do to win. US Portsmouth’s going to be perfect for that but we also know how tough it’s going to be.

“With the weather conditions that are due and their pitch being the way it is, it’s going to make for a very difficult game with regards to any free-flowing football.

“So, it’s going to be a battle of wills, I would imagine.”

Connor Bent returns and Greg Borthwick could make an appearance after his groin strain.

Jack Delves (groin) is doubtful but Josh Williams (broken toe) and Stuttle miss out, the latter with a four-game suspension for his second dismissal of the season.

Portland did consider an appeal but thought better of it.

Critchell explained: “The Veo footage isn’t clear and obvious because of the angle and the distance.

“We decided against it because of the ramifications that it could be detrimental to George’s absence.”