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Star midfielder Nicholls keeps feet on the ground after praise
DORCHESTER Town’s Ashley Nicholls has welcomed the praise directed his way this season but the midfield general insists it will not go to his head.
Nicholls picked up the Magpies’ fans’ player of the month awards for October and November before the New Year’s Day clash with Truro City and was described as “outstanding” by boss Phil Simkin after the 2-2 draw.
The 31-year-old has been a virtual ever-present for Dorchester in the Blue Square Bet South during the current campaign while also studying for a PhD in cancer biology.
The hard work off the pitch has corresponded with a consistent string of displays on it despite juggling long days in the laboratory with his football career.
The Ipswich native, who also has one league goal to his name, has managed to avoid any long-term injuries and while pleased with the plaudits he has received he knows a bad performance could only be 90 minutes away.
“It’s nice when you get praise from the manager but I don’t let it go to my head because the next game might not go so well and people will be saying that you let the side down,” said Nicholls.
“I take the rough with the smooth and you have to do that to stay level-headed.
“I thought I played alright against Truro. I just tried my best and everyone chipped in, it was just frustrating we didn’t get the win.
“A lot of the lads did well. We played well as a team but the two goals we conceded were more down to collective mistakes rather than individual ones.
“It had been a long time since we’d played so everyone was pretty excited that the game was actually on to start with.
“It took us a while to get going but we had control of the game. It was disappointing we didn’t get the three points.
On his accolades from the Magpies’ fans, he added: “That was really unexpected. No-one had said anything to me so it was a nice surprise when I came out onto the pitch and it was announced.”
Nicholls also reiterated Simkin’s message that safety is the club’s first priority.
The county town side moved out of the relegation zone with the Truro draw but with the league so tight any number of teams could be involved in the scrap to avoid the drop.
“Dorchester’s aim will always be to get to 42 or 44 points and make sure we’re safe first,” he said. “Whatever happens after that is a bonus.
“This league is right for the club. If we did go up it would be a step too far financially.
“It would be nice to get into the play-offs just to see how we would do and give the younger lads the experience of going through it.”