SALISBURY midfielder Sam Roberts believes the team has “really started to gel” – just in time for Saturday’s big FA Cup showdown with Poole Town at the Ray Mac.

Roberts scored his first goal of the season last weekend as the Whites romped to an emphatic 8-0 win over Shortwood United in the Evo-Stik South West.

And although Salisbury operate two leagues below their Cup visitors, the feel-good factor generated by that victory is in stark contrast to Poole’s current woes in the Vanarama National League South.

When the Dolphins were unpicked 4-1 at Wealdstone on Monday, it marked a sixth defeat in the last seven games for Tom Killick’s men.

Reflecting on Salisbury’s 8-0 confidence booster, 22-year-old Roberts said: “We definitely feel confident of getting a little run together.

“The Poole game is massive for us. I think we’ve got a real chance of winning if we take our chances and stay compact as a team.

“We definitely feel playing at home gives us that advantage. With the pitch being the way it is, it allows us to get the ball down and play the way we like to.”

Saturday’s second qualifying round tie is a huge one for Salisbury striker Marvin Brooks – a hat-trick hero at Shortwood - following his summer switch from Poole.

Whites boss Steve Claridge said: “I thought Marvin might be a bit concerned about the draw, but he is lapping it up.

“That’s the kind of attitude we’re going to need. He came to us because he thought we had potential – and that is what we have.

“One day, hopefully, we’ll be playing these sort of clubs on a regular basis but, for now, we just have to give it a good go.”

Gosport Borough host Swindon Supermarine in the Cup looking to bounce back from yet another Evo-Stik South Premier defeat.

Alex Pike’s men crashed 4-2 against Farnborough at Privett Park on Tuesday – their seventh straight league loss.

AFC Portchester, the Sydenhams Premier Division’s sole survivors, fly the Wessex flag away to Truro City, who sit second in the Vanarama National League South, having dispensed with Dorchester Town in the last round.

Truro boss Lee Hodges warned: “Our visitors will come here with nothing to lose. They will be able to play with freedom and, as favourites, all of the pressure will be on us.

“They showed what they are capable of by beating Dorchester in the previous round, so I am expecting a tough encounter.

“We will treat this like a league game and give AFC Portchester the respect that they deserve.”