Horndean boss wary of Cowes

Horndean's Ash Howes. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170942-1)
Horndean's Ash Howes. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170942-1)
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Michael Birmingham has warned Horndean not to take Cowes Sports for granted in their Wessex League premier division clash at Five Heads Park tomorrow (3pm).

The boss has been delighted with his side’s performances so far.

But he reckons their unbeaten start will be threatened by the Yachtsmen.

‘Cowes may have only just escaped relegation last season but they always have a good set-up,’ said Birmingham.

‘They will come to us with a game plan and will be up for it.

‘We had an excellent FA Cup replay in the week and I will look to freshen the side up again.

‘This season we have the strength in depth to be able to do that.

‘I want us to be patient, getting the ball down and moving it quickly like we can.’

Horndean are without Ash Howes (suspended), Lee Tigwell and Matt Brown (unavailable) and Connor Duffin (injured).

Central defender Jay Johnson returns to the squad.

Fareham Town manager Pete Stiles is not relishing the 3G pitch at Hamworthy United.

‘It is bad enough having to play two games in three days let alone one on a plastic pitch,’ said the Reds boss.

‘The 3G pitches put a lot of different stresses and strains on the players.

‘We showed in the 3-2 defeat at Blackfield we are getting closer all the time.

‘Even at 3-0 down we showed the fighting spirit to score twice.’

Ian Saunders told AFC Portchester to forget all about the FA Cup and focus on the premier division showdown with Portland United at the Blanchard Wells Stadium.

The Royals are looking forward to a home tie against Dorchester Town.

But the priority before that is picking up points.

‘After a poor start we have picked up in the league and want to keep that going,’ said Saunders.

‘A win will also keep us in the right frame of mind.’

Early premier division leaders Baffins Milton Rovers will make wholesale changes for the trip to Bournemouth Poppies.

Their reshuffled side suffered a surprise 3-2 Hampshire Senior Cup exit at Christchurch after taking a two-goal lead.

‘We had up to 10 first-choice players missing at Christchurch,’ said Baffins boss Louis Bell.

‘I learnt a bit about some of the squad players in midweek.’