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Havant preview

August Bank Holiday sees Wingate & Finchley welcome Havant & Waterlooville to the Maurice Rebak Stadium for the sixth Ryman Premier League game of the season. The Blues will be looking to get back on track after a 3-0 defeat to Harlow Town on Saturday afternoon. The visitors, on the other hand, were victorious over the weekend as they beat Lowestoft Town 1-0 courtesy of Jason Prior’s second goal of the campaign. The result moved Havant to 3rd place in the league table, three points behind the league leaders – Leiston FC. In fact, Havant’s only defeat of the season so far came to Leiston, on the opening day of the season, after which Lee Bradbury’s side have picked up four wins. After finishing 20th in the National League South last season, the Hawks will be looking to gain immediate promotion back to the second tier of non-league football. Conversely, Keith Rowland’s Wingate & Finchley side have had a mixed start to the season – winning once, drawing once and losing thrice in their opening five fixtures. Last Saturday’s win at home to Hendon seemed to have been the start of a good run but the Blues were undone by a typically direct performance by Harlow Town – similar to the opening day defeat to Tonbridge Angels. Currently sat in the relegation zone, Rowland’s men will need to regain form to avoid having to play catch up at the foot of the table later in the season. The last time these sides met was the third qualifying round of the FA Cup in 2014, where the Hawks ran out 2-0 winners at Summers Lane – in a game that taught Wingate the harsh realities of National League football but a performance that gave then-Daniel Nielsen’s side the confidence to go toe-to-toe with sides whose resources were greater than their own. The return of Billy Healey to the fold will bring confidence to the Blues – who have only scored four goals in their opening five games, compared to 10 in the opening five games last season. The Blues’ fans will be hoping that Bank Holiday Monday will see last season’s top scorer can cash in on a defence that conceded 75 goals last season – and steer their side to a second win of the season. By Nikhil Saglani

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