Portchester hope Noakes will stay... Baffins hungry

Joe Noakes. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Joe Noakes. Picture: Habibur Rahman
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AFC PORTCHESTER manager Ian Saunders is hoping to keep hold of Joe Noakes after Gosport Borough put in a seven-day approach for the aggressive midfield player.

Saunders sees Noakes as a key player in their bid to close the gap on the leading pack in the Wessex League premier division.

The Royals face a tricky visit to Bemerton Heath Harlequins on Saturday as they look to bounce back from their derby defeat against Fareham Town.

‘I will be disappointed to lose Joe because he is one of our more combative players,’ said Portchester boss Saunders.

‘He does play on the line at times and I can see why a club at a higher level are interested in him.

‘Fingers crossed he will stay for us but if Alex Pike does manage to tempt him away we will wish him all the best.

‘Our priority is to kick-start our season in the best possible way by starting the year with a win.

‘Bemerton is never an easy place to get a result and they have picked up after a slow start.’

The Royals are hoping to have central midfield player Jake Morgan back in contention for the match.

Baffins Milton Rovers will cross the Solent as they to get set to take on Cowes Sports at Westwood Park on Saturday (3pm).

Manager Louis Bell is back from holiday to take charge and is keen to see his side climb back into the top half of the league.

He knows his players will be looking forward to the match after being denied action by rain over Christmas.

‘We have not played for a couple of weeks and the lads are chomping at the bit to get back out there,’ said boss Bell.

Apart from Ashton Leigh, who is suspended, the visitors are at full strength.

Michael Birmingham is warning Horndean of their need to be fully focused for the visit to Bashley on Saturday.

‘Bashley have had some terrific results lately and pose a big set-piece threat,’ said Birmingham.

‘We will have to make sure we don’t concede silly free-kicks because they will punish us.

‘It is a case of having to keep our wits about us.’

Birmingham has the luxury of a fully-fit squad.

In-form Fareham Town will be favourites to come away with all three points as they take on Petersfield Town at Love Lane.

Reds boss Pete Stiles wants his team to build on their fantastic win at Portchester.