Poulton calls for league extension

Portchester's Simon Woods
Portchester's Simon Woods
Alex Pike. Picture: Malcolm Wells

Pike sacked by Gosport Borough – again

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Hayling United boss Steve Poulton is calling for the Wessex League to extend their season as his side face a nightmare fixture backlog.

The Humbugs have played only once since the beginning of December and have 23 games to play in less than three months.

‘All the clubs are struggling to get games on because of the weather,’ said Poulton.

‘I think the Wessex League need to make a common-sense decision and extend the season. If they don’t then clubs are going to be faced with playing four games in seven days on a regular basis.

‘Then clubs will start to field weakened teams for some games and that will only devalue the league.

‘At this level, players are not tuned to playing so much football in a short space of time.

‘Employers are also not as flexible as they used to be in allowing players to get away early for games.

‘To ask them to do it twice a week is pushing it a bit.’

Poulton, along with AFC Portchester manager Glenn Bridgman, is again forced to keep a close eye on the weather, with their clubs due to go head-to head at Wicor Mill tomorrow (3pm).

With further rain forecast again there are doubts whether the match will go ahead.

If it does, Hayling will be wary of the home side’s fire-power – particularly the league’s leading goalscorer Simon Woods.

Fareham Town travel to fourth-placed Bemerton Heath Harlequins looking to cause another upset.

The Reds came away from second-placed Christchurch last week with a 2-1 win.

Stand-in manager Shaun Coles was delighted with his players and would like another good result before handing the reins back over to Matt Parr, who is due to return from Australia.

Horndean host sixth-placed GE Hamble desperate to get playing again.

‘I’ll be glad to get away from the shopping,’ said manager Dave Carter. ‘Hamble is a tough game to come back into but we go into it positive with a strong side available.

‘It will all depend on how we react after not playing for so long.’

Striker Chamal Fenelon returns and Kev Chatfield is available again.

Moneyfields travel to Dorset side Hamworthy United.