PHIL Simkin is in advanced talks with a couple of players as he looks to boost his ranks ahead of the Magpies’ double-header with Luton Town.

The Dorchester Town boss is hopeful of completing the two deals in the next 24 hours but is keeping tight-lipped over the identity of both men.

Simkin is particularly keen to strengthen his forward options and has been tracking a striker for a while. When asked how negotiations are progressing, he told Echosport: “Things are getting closer, both with him and another player as well.

“We need to get numbers in and strengthen the squad, and hopefully I will have some more updates to give you tomorrow.”

One negative piece of news for Simkin has been the realisation that Ashley Nicholls is set to miss this Saturday’s FA Trophy first round clash with the Hatters due to suspension.

The talented midfielder is an extremely important player for Dorchester and his absence is a huge blow.

Simkin added: “I have only just found that out.

“He was supposed to be out for the Dorset Senior Cup game against Wimborne Town next Tuesday night but for some reason his suspension has been brought forward and to be honest I am not sure what that is all about.

“Ash has been outstanding in the last few games. We just give him the ball and he does the rest, so the fact he is out on Saturday is a big blow.”

On the plus side, barring injury, Charlie Clough and Nathan Walker will be available for the FA Cup second round tie at Luton on December 1 despite both being just one booking away from a ban.

The two defenders have been walking a suspension tight-rope but they can now breathe a little easier.

Simkin explained: “Bans don’t kick in until 14 days after the offence so it is not a problem to play them in the Trophy.

“However, we have not decided on a side for Saturday yet and I will be speaking to Stuart Heath this week to see where we go.”

* Echosport understands that one of the players Simkin is hoping to land is ex-Terras striker Richard Logan.