PORTLAND United interim manager Gary Bailey is hoping his side do themselves justice when they face Shaftesbury in the Dorset Senior Cup semi-final tonight (7.45pm).

The two sides have drawn twice in their two league games against each other so far this season and Bailey is expecting a cagey affair.

Bailey said: “It is a good honour for the club to be involved in the competition and it is one we are looking forward to and hopefully we will do ourselves justice and get ourselves to the final.

“ I am expecting a very close encounter. Semi-finals rarely very exciting, they are normally cagey affairs. It will be down to who wants it and who produced that bit of quality on the day.”

The encounter was originally scheduled for last Tuesday but it was postponed due to the weather and both sides saw their matches called off due to the snow at the weekend and Portland were unable to train.

When asked how the squad are feeling ahead of the match, Bailey said: “The players should be excited, you want to play in big games as a player and if you cannot get excited about playing in a cup semi-final then they should not be playing football. I am sure everyone is looking forward to it.”

“Everyone should be raring to go and chomping at the bit to get the game under their belts."

Bailey added: “They are the games you want to be involved in at the end of the season, you want to be playing in semi-finals and hopefully finals.

Bailey’s first game in charge of his interim spell of Portland came against Shaftesbury, in the 1-1 draw where a free-kick from Ryan McKechnie earned the Blues a late point in the 87th minute.

Bailey said: “We played Shaftesbury a few weeks ago, it was my first game in charge, it was a very very tough game. They are right there with us in the league, with evenly matched teams and squads.

Referring to their two draws so far this season Bailey said: “That just shows how close it is.”

When asked if they are feeling confident heading into the match Bailey explained: “It is a bit of everything, we go into every game hoping and setting up to win it so we will go in feeling confident that we can win it

“On the flip side you have to give the opposition the respect that they deserve and know that they are going into it feeling exactly the same.”

Portland face potentially up to four absentees as Alex Godfrey has not recovered from an ankle injury while Lewis Clarke is unavailable due to work commitments. Ryan McKechnie due to work commitments while a late decision will be made on Sam Buckler, who is being monitored for a thigh problem.

Should Portland win the match they will face either Poole Town or Wimborne Town in the final for a shot at winning the cup.