Race is on for Wessex title

Hayling boss Steve Poulton. Picture: Mick Young (114025-02)

Hayling boss Steve Poulton. Picture: Mick Young (114025-02)

Petersfield's Billy Connor. Picture: Malcolm Wells  t

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Hayling United kick off their Wessex League premier division campaign with a trip to the Isle of Wight tomorrow to face Newport (3pm).

The Humbugs have narrowly escaped the drop to division one in the past two seasons.

And boss Steve Poulton is determined his side will not be scrapping for their lives when push comes to shove at the end of this term.

Newport represent a tough opening test for the College Ground outfit, though.

The Isle of Wight side did the double over Poulton’s men last term – winning 3-1 on home turf and 4-0 on Hayling Island.

But as the boss aims to set the record straight, he is hampered by a number of missing men.

Jack Salter-Vaille, Steve Black and Lloyd Patilla are all unavailable.

Meanwhile, Aiden Smallbones is also unable to make the trip across to Newport.

Elsewhere, Fareham Town and Horndean are also in action tomorrow.

Matt Parr takes his Reds to Totton & Eling for their curtain-raiser.

And it promises to be an intriguing clash between the two clubs who finished last term just three points apart.

Fareham will be confident going into the game, though, after completing their pre-season programme unbeaten.

Horndean, meanwhile, begin their second season back in the top flight of the Wessex League with a clash against Christchurch.

Dave Carter’s men welcome the Dorset outfit to Five Heads Park, having beaten them 3-0 in the corresponding fixture last term.

Moneyfields, who finished fourth last term, have to wait until Tuesday when they begin their season at New Milton.

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