Chichester City relishing tests against Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill

Chichester City are looking forward to welcoming two in-form Sussex rivals to Oaklands Park, vowing: It’s a chance to see how far we’ve come.

Miles Rutherford’s team welcome fifth-placed Haywards Heath Town on Saturday – and Burgess Hill Town, who are eighth, next Tuesday.

City know both visiting teams will give them stiff tests but are relishing the games as they attempt to show their own place in the top half of the Isthmian south east division is no fluke. They warmed up for the home derbies by taking a point in an away all-Sussex clash last weekend as Lloyd Rowlatt’s 81st minute goal earned a 1-1 draw at Whitehawk.

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That gave City the best of the games against the Hawks, having beaten them 6-1 at home earlier in the season.

Miles Rutherford sends Chi City into battle with Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill over the next week / Picture: Neil Holmes

Chi City coach Danny Potter said the upcoming games against Heath and the Hillians should be cracking encounters.

“We welcome Haywards Heath on Saturday,” he said. “And they have just parted company with Shaun Saunders so it should be an interesting one. We lost 1-0 at their place but that flattered us so we want to rectify our performance and show they’re a team we can compete with.

“I’d say Haywards Heath are virtually guaranteed a play-off place so they’re at the sort of level we need to be comfortable with if we have aspirations of our own in this league.

“And you can say the same about Burgess Hill, who visit us on Tuesday.

“They are flying, having won at Hastings and Sittingbourne in the past week.

“But though we know how difficult both games will be, they’re the sort we relish. Games like this are why we’re in football and we aim to put on a good show for what we hope will be a couple of big crowds.”

City have won four and drawn two of their past seven Isthmian outings and continue to integrate a number of players from their under-23s and under-18s set-up into the first team picture.

One to catch the eye in recent games has been left-back Eric-Georges Dellaud, who has filled in for the suspended Rob Hutchings.

Potter said they were delighted to see young players staking a claim and adding to competition for starting spots, which he said was vital in keeping legs fresh in a hectic run.