THERE will be a packed league programme for the Isle of Wight's sides, but much will depend on the state of pitches, with inspections expected to take place tomorrow morning (Saturday). 

Following their vital home win against mid-table Brockenhurst last weekend, Cowes Sports player-manager John McKie is champing at the bit for the match away at Hamble Club.

The Yachtsmen, who still lie second bottom of the Sydenhams Wessex Premier, take a strong squad to Hamble, another mid-table outfit, who have won only two of their last seven league games.

Cowes skipper Gareth Bricknell, who scored the winner last SDaturday, will be hoping to continue his rich vein of goalscoring form having hit five in the past five games. 

Isle of Wight County Press:

Gareth Bricknell, far right, swivels to smash home the only goal against Brockenhurst last weekend.  Photo: Graham Brown

However, Cowes will be missing forward Jimmy Wykes, who suffered further injury on Saturday and will now face a potentially long period on the sidelines.

It is a disappointment to McKie, especially after Wykes returned from a ten-week injury lay-off to face Brockenhurst and had played well.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Jimmy Wykes (with ball) will be missing against Hamble Club through injury.  Photo: Robin Crossley

McKie, hoping to hoist his side a couple of places towards safety with three points against Hamble, told the County Press: "Unfortunately, during the week, it appears Jimmy had a reaction from Saturday's game and he looks likely to miss the rest of the season with another tear to his groin.

"He's devastated, but like the club man he is, the only thing he was concerned about was the team, not himself.

"I think that's sums up our dressing room. All of the lads know the badge on the front of the shirt is more important than the name on the back.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Cowes player-manager John McKie, left, will be gunning for three points against Hamble.  Photo: Graham Brown

"Fin Phillips is unavailable this week as well, but we have players in place ready to slot into their roles. We travel with another good squad.

"Hamble is a tough place to go, but we're going for points, not just to make up the numbers.

"We're building momentum now and the lads can feel it, so we're looking to continue our hard work and get something out of the game.

For Newport, Alton will be the visitors at St George's Park in Sydenhams Wessex Division 1.

Newport, in good form of late, lost 3-2 away at United Services Portsmouth mid-week and will be aiming to get back to winning ways against a side lying a place below Port in seventh.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Newport's Jordan Browne (on the ball) will be aiming to keep his impressive recent goalscoring run going against Alton.  Photo: Simon Dear

However, heavy overnight snow has covered the pitch so, the game going ahead will hinge on an inspection at 9am tomorrow, to allow Alton time to either go ahead with or cancel their travel plans to the Isle of Wight.

Kick off is planned for 3pm.

East Cowes Vics have a tough fixture away at fourth placed Romsey Town.

Vics lie in 11th place currently, enjoying some of their best form of the season to date, unbeaten in their last four, which includes wins against Andover Town and Totton & Eling, with captain Joe Butcher in fine goalscoring form during their good run.

Isle of Wight County Press:

East Cowes Vics striker Joe Butcher, right (in red), scored an injury time equaliser in their last game.  FILE

In Division 1 of the Island League, Whitecroft and Barton Sports, who kept their unbeaten record this season intact with a 2-2 draw at Pan Sports, playing with nine men, last weekend, travel to mid-table West Wight.

Brading Town, second in the table, face Shanklin away and will not want a repeat of their 5-2 lost against them in last Saturday's Isle of Wight Senior (Gold) Cup tie.

In Division 2, Bembridge will have a test of their title credentials against a good Newchurch side in fourth place, while second place Ryde Saints have a derby at home to Seaview at Smallbrook Stadium.

                         TOMORROW’S FIXTURES (SATURDAY)

Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division: Hamble Club v Cowes Sports.

Sydenhams Wessex Division 1: Romsey Town v East Cowes Vics; Newport v Alton.

Harwoods Renault Isle of Wight League Division 1: Cowes Sports Reserves v Binstead & COB; Pan Sports v Northwood St John; Sandown v ECS; Shanklin v Brading Town; Ventnor v Osborne Coburg; West Wight v Whitecroft & Barton Sports.

Division 2: Bembridge v Newchurch; Brighstone v Adgestone; Carisbrooke United v Niton Community; East Cowes Vics A v Wootton; Oakfield v Yarmouth & Calbourne; Ryde Saints v Seaview.

Combination 1: Binstead & COB v Shanklin; Brading Town v Oakfield; ECS Reserves v West Wight Reserves; Osborne Coburg Reserves v Sandown Reserves; Whitecroft & Barton Sports Reserves v Ryde Saints Reserves.

Combination 2: Newchurch v Wootton; Ryde Saints A v Carisbrooke United Reserves; Yarmouth & Calbourne Reserves v Niton Community Reserves.