Bournemouth hit the road again this weekend as they take the four hour trip to Southend to face Westcliff in what Richard Sharp describes as a "10-pointer".

Lions endured another agonising bonus-point defeat last time out, this time against Old Albanians at Chapel Gate on Saturday. It was their sixth in eight matches, and performance director Sharp knows his team needs to turn improving form into league points.

“We are looking at this as a 10-pointer,” he said.

“Westcliff have gone through significant changes since we last played. They are stringing victories together and are looking a very strong outfit. It is going to be a big, big clash for us.”

Since Bournemouth’s 39-12 victory in October that gave them their first of two league wins of the season, Westcliff have registered five wins and climbed to 13th in the table, 13 points clear of their opponents and ten above the relegation zone.

“We see it is a turning point in our battle for survival in National Two,” said Sharp.

The scrap to avoid the drop looks set to feature three sides in danger of being cut adrift at the foot of the table. Sutton & Epsom are currently 14th on 21 points, followed by Old Redcliffians on 19 and Lions on 16. Both rivals have tough away fixtures this weekend, and the three clubs will all face off in an intense three week period at the end of March that could settle the fate of each.

But Sharp is confident that his team can get the much-needed win on Saturday to pull Westcliff back into the picture.

"We have seen a great turnaround in performances these last eight weeks," he said.

"The physical exertion has been immense and lots of boys are tired and carrying knocks. I’m so proud of them, and it is a privilege to be part of this squad.”

In particular, Sharp will be hoping that wing Ben Meaden continues his fine form of recent weeks.

“Ben was a class act on the wing last weekend. He looked dangerous all day and always comes looking for work.”

And of course, Bournemouth will rely heavily on the near-flawless boot of goal-kicker Grant Hancox.

“We are putting great performances together, and I am confident we can go down there to Westcliff in Southend and do a job,” says Sharp.

“It is going to be a monumental day for both teams.”