COWES Sports are preparing for what they hope will be a much more positive season in the Sydenhams Wessex Premier League with the re-signing of two former players and a new face at Westwood Park.

The Yachtsmen, managed by Max Draper, have boosted their ranks by signing reliable Newport first team regular, Lewis Wright, and securing the return of fans' favourites — defender, Callum Chase, and striker, John McKie.

The return of McKie from Hamble Club is real coup for Draper.

His goals were hugely missed last season as they struggled in the bottom three throughout the campaign and, had it not been for Covid-19, they could have slipped through the trap door into Division 1.

McKie returned at the end of last season on loan in a bid to keep them up, scoring a brace on his second debut in the one match played, the 4-4 draw with Fleet Town.

Isle of Wight County Press: John McKie on target for Cowes Sports two seasons ago.John McKie on target for Cowes Sports two seasons ago.

McKie, who helped steer Cowes to a dramatic great escape a year ago as player-manager, said of his return to Westwood: "It's exciting times at Cowes and I'm glad to be back and part of it.

"With the signings that have been made — not only on the pitch, but off it — it's clear to see the club is moving in the right direction.

"I'm really looking forward to getting back in front of the Westwood faithful, alongside the rest of the boys.

"Here's to a great season ahead!"

Chase, who re-signed after a spell with McKie at Hamble last season, cannot wait to get started at Cowes.

Isle of Wight County Press: Callum Chase clears the ball. Photo: Graham BrownCallum Chase clears the ball. Photo: Graham Brown

"I am excited to be rejoining Cowes Sports," said Chase.

"The love I have for the club was too much for me to turn down the opportunity to come back.

"I look forward to putting the blue and white shirt back on and playing alongside a great bunch of lads and working with the management team again.

"I cannot wait to hear the Westwood roar when match days return.

"Stay safe and see you all on the pitch soon"

One of Draper's backroom staff, Alex Smith, was quick to sing the praises of Wright, having worked with him on the Southampton Foundation Programme.

Smith said: "Lewis was excellent to work with — always keen to develop and learn. He has great technique, a range of passing and a high work rate.

"He will be a great asset to the club."

Isle of Wight County Press: New Cowes Sports signing Lewis Wright (in yellow) on target for former club, Newport. FILENew Cowes Sports signing Lewis Wright (in yellow) on target for former club, Newport. FILE

Lewis was delighted with the move.

He said: "I can’t wait to get started with the lads. I’ve known most of them for a long time and they’re a cracking bunch.

"I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Newport for the past few years and I appreciate everything they’ve done for me.

"But now, I’m excited to see where we can go as a group at Cowes and I look forward to the challenge of the Wessex Premier."

Draper was delighted by his trio of signings this week

"I'm sure the Yachtsmen faithful will be excited to see another young talent in Lewis join the ranks and I'm sure they will support him well over the coming season," said Draper, who stepped up from player-manager of the reserves side last season.

"With the return of John and the other additions, it has been a positive start in the rebuild for the coming season."