WARY manager Graham Kemp reckons the influence of “born winner” Taffy Richardson will make life hard for Hamworthy United in tomorrow’s derby date at Bournemouth Poppies.
In-form Hammers travel to Victoria Park (3pm) on the back of 10 points from new boss Kemp’s four league games in charge while Poppies hover dangerously close to the Wessex Premier trapdoor.
However, with veteran midfielder Richardson recently dual-registering with the Winton-based strugglers and local bragging rights at stake, Kemp predicts a tough test for his charges.
The County Ground boss told the Daily Echo: “I tried to sign Taffy when I went to Winchester over the summer and have managed against teams he has played for.
"He knows exactly what it takes to win matches and, if he plays, you can never underestimate a team with such a driving force in it.
“Without disrespect, we are not expecting the pitch to be in the best condition and derby matches are generally good levellers anyway.
“The fact they are struggling means they will battle and scrap more than a team sitting in the comfort of mid-table.
“Our lads will be fired up and we expect a real blood and thunder contest because every point counts for Poppies in their position. Whoever finds that extra one or two per cent will end up winning.”
Rival boss Ken Vaughan – who was unsure whether Richardson would be available – echoed Kemp’s sentiments but warned Poppies could be hampered by a lengthy injury list.
With Fawzi Saadi and Luke Ayrton already ruled out, Vaughan revealed several players would face late fitness tests.
“When we have a full squad then these games can go either way,” he said.
“If we have a few missing, it makes it much harder for a team in our position to compete. Kempy says he is confident they are safe but we certainly don’t have that cushion.”
Unavailable striker Russell Cook is the only absentee for Hamworthy.
- Christchurch welcome back winger Dan Hiscock but will be without defender James Baker for their home clash with Fawley, while Verwood may blood new signing Tyler Ruthen when Potters host Folland Sports.
In Wessex One, New Milton welcome Amesbury, while Ringwood entertain Andover New Street (all 3pm).