PORTLAND United manager Kyle Critchell believes there is no sterner test than AFC Stoneham in the Velocity Wessex League Premier Division this season.

Critchell’s men welcome the Purples to the Camp & Satherley Stadium tomorrow (3pm) looking to become only the fifth club to take points from the league leaders in the current campaign.

Despite being armed with a formidable home record of only two defeats in 14 games, Critchell is on red alert for a big examination of the Blues’ powers this weekend.

“I don’t think any test comes any sterner than Stoneham,” he told Echosport.

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“We’re not going into the game concerned or afraid of the opposition, we’ll go in prepared and wanting to get a result but we do know how difficult that task is going to be.

“In my opinion, they are the best side this season we’ve played against. You can look at different variations of playing against them.

“They’re strong, so you can try and go over them, around or through them. Ultimately, what we need is our players to be playing at their peak and some of theirs to be off the top of theirs.

“We have a game plan in mind and we’ll be ready for the test. Our lads are really excited.”

Portland come into the game fresh from a two-week break after the postponement of their match at US Portsmouth last Saturday.

Critchell added: “We were actually fairly short on Saturday so the game being called off wasn’t necessarily a negative.

“It allowed me to give some of the lads time away, be with their families or recover. We tried to organise a friendly at Dorchester on Wednesday but that was cancelled.

“We had a training session on Tuesday and (yesterday), so it’s allowed us to get a few players back in and available.”

Portland are boosted by the return of star striker Greg Borthwick, while Joe Wickham and Brin Doyle are fit after illness and Connor Bent is available after a thigh strain.

Jack Delves (hip) and Josh Williams (broken toe) are out, while George Stuttle begins a four-game ban.