AFC Portchester open their Wessex premier home campaign with a mouthwatering local derby against Moneyfields at Wicor Rec tonight (7.45pm).
Both teams are in confident mood after good wins at the weekend. The Royals beat Brockenhurst 1-0 while the city club stormed to a 5-2 win against Totton & Eling.
Royal’s boss Graham Rix is relishing the opportunity to take on their near-neighbours.
He said: ‘I have a lot of respect for how Miles Rutherford and Graeme Gee go about things.
‘We can be boosted by our win in the New Forest against a good Brockenhurst team.’
Moneyfields manager Miles Rutherford is undecided whether to play his son Alfie.
The 16-year-old scored twice as a second-half substitute against Totton & Eling but Rutherford senior’s hand may be forced by the injury to striker Dougie Rowe.
The in-form goalscorer is likely to be ruled out for at least a month with ligament problems.
‘Losing Dougie is a big blow,’ said Rutherford.
He is also without the injured Jamie Hore but welcome back George Way and Russell Rackley after suspension.
Unbeaten Horndean face a stiff test against Newport IOW at Five Heads Park (7.45pm).
Manager Dave Carter is delighted with his team’s start but is still considering ringing the changes.
‘I might take the opportunity to give a couple of lads a breather,’ he said.
George Vince, Ollie Warren, Dan Ayres, Liam Kimber and Lenny Burney could all return.
Fareham Town are hoping to get off the mark against Folland Sports at Cams Alders (7.45pm).
Manager Matt Parr insists there is no need to panic after opening their season with two defeats.
‘It would be nice to get some points on the board,’ said Parr.
He is boosted by the return of injured defenders Louie Martin and Lee Tigwell.
Bognor entertain Leatherhead in the Ryman premier at Nyewood Lane (7.45pm).
– KEVIN RICKETTS