PORTLAND United chairman Robin Satherley has urged fans to be "patient" ahead of their Buildbase FA Vase first round clash with Horndean on Saturday (3pm).

The Blues enter the game after a 6-0 thrashing of Baffins Milton Rovers in the Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division.

But after winning the league last season the Blues sit 11th after a hot and cold start to the campaign.

Satherley said: "I am aware and fully understand that there is some disappointment amongst our regular supporters with our current league position.

"We would obviously like to be higher up the league especially following our tremendous season (of) 2016/17, however, I would ask them to be patient as manager Simon Browne endeavours to strengthen the current squad of players.

"It was always going to be difficult to replicate what we achieved last season, the task made even more difficult by a number of senior players departing the club.

"The Wessex Premier League is very competitive, with some clubs having more financial resources than a number of clubs in higher leagues.

"I am confident that our fortunes on the pitch will steadily improve as the season progresses.

"Having been very successful over the past five seasons or so, everyone associated with the club both on and off the pitch is striving hard to keep Portland United FC a major player in Dorset football."

And Satherley is expecting a tough test against in-form Horndean.

"The Blues are very much looking forward to their home clash with fellow Wessex Premier League team Horndean FC in the first round proper of the Buildbase FA Vase on Saturday.

"The visitors are currently riding high in the league and only recently defeated Brendon King’s Hamworthy United 6-0 in the league, so we are under no illusion as to the task that we face if we are to proceed to the next round.

"Last season we had a good run in the FA Vase, defeating Almondsbury OWE and Romsey Town before narrowly losing on the second round proper to Blackfield and Langley in front of a crowd of 261.

"I am hoping that our loyal supporters will turn out and give us a 200+ crowd for what should be a very competitive game.

"Although our home gates are currently down on last season we are still near the top of the average gate figures and I thank our supporters for their continued support," he said.

"In this respect we continue to try and make improvements to our ground facilities for our supporters and are currently in the process of developing an area for provision of hot food.

"The game also gives us a break from what has been a very frantic and busy start to the league season.

"Having started the season on August 1st, we have already played approximately one third of our first fixtures and currently occupy 11th position in the league," he added.