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Downton without star captain for derby clash with Bemerton
The game, originally scheduled for midday on Boxing Day, was altered to suit both clubs and will now be played under the floodlights at Wick Lane.
Palmer, dismissed for violent conduct at Horndean, is ruled out of the crunchtime Sydenhams Premier crash, which ended in a 0-0 draw last time round, along with Danny Finnigan and Paul Gulliver.
But despite a long list of injuries, boss Jeff Softley is confident his depleted team can turnover Harlequins, a side close to his heart.
“Everyone loves a local derby and I just hope we’re up for it,” said Softley, who formerly managed Harlequins’ reserve side.
“As long as my lads are up for it we have a real chance of getting something.
“Bemerton have got some class players, including Joe Sanger and Jack Slade, so we know how tough it’s going to be.
“Having no reserve team to fall back on, I think even José Mourinho would struggle here at the moment.”
Downton lost to Brockenhurst 4-3 on Saturday, despite a brace from Declan McGregor and a single from Martin Johnson. They travel to Blackfield and Langley on Saturday.
Monday’s favourites Bemerton, who suffered a 4- 0 thrashing in the Russell Coates Cup to Farnborough on Tuesday, host Folland Sports (3pm).
- Full report and pictures from the derby in Boxing Day’s Journal.