If Trojans can translate their pre-season form into points, they will fancy their prospects of being among the fancied sides in the Hampshire/ Surrey Regional League.

All too often in the past they have flattered to deceive, tailing away after a spurt of early season successes to finish off the pace in third or fourth place.

Captain Campbell Williams is quitely confident that it will come right this season.

"The pre-season has gone really well, with some excellent performances from what I regard a stronger all-round squad of players," he said.

Bournemouth (6-1), City of Portsmouth (4-3), Woking (4-2) and Fareham (5-2) have all been beaten in the build up to Saturday's Regional League opener at Reigate Priory.

The arrival of Paul Hilton, who played EHA Premier Division hockey with Hampstead & Westminster last season, is a major plus for the Stoneham club.

"Paul ought to score a hatful of goals at regional league level and with his father Lyndsay with us in a coaching role, we've scored a double plus," Williams added.

The Trojans captain is smiling at the prospect of seeing Hilton link up with teenager Steve Rhodes up front.

"They've both been scoring regularly in the warm-up games, so that's whetted a few appetites," he beamed.

Havant pair Richard Newman and Peter Wiles have also joined the Stoneham set and will play alongside the bulk of last season's side, which finished third.

Evergreen John Cowie (Chiswick) and Matt Sykes (Wimbledon) have moved on, but with Colin French, Chris Wiseman and Craig Somerville - not to mention short corner specialist Wayne Shepherd - about there should be no shortage of goals.

Williams reckons near neighbours Hamble and Woking will be among the fancied sides in the Regional League this term.

"It's a bit difficult to forecast because there's five new sides in the Regional, Southampton among them, but if Hamble can repeat last season's form, they could be in with a shout - hopefully along with ourselves," he said.

Besides opening their league account, Trojans are also looking to progress in the EHA Cup this weekend.

Their reward for a 4-2 first round win over Woking is a Sunday outing to East Division 3 side Winchmore Hill & Enfield - a tie Trojans should win.

"The great incentive for winning is to get the chance to pit yourselves against a National League club - and see how good, or bad, you really are," added Williams.

Hamble, who finished one place behind Trojans last term, expect to have several new faces in their 14-man squad, which launches its bid with a difficult home game against Woking at Satchell Lane.

Newly-promoted Southampton, who carried off the Hampshire League title last season, complete the local quartet.

They host Old Kingstonians, who were relegated from the South League in the spring.