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Heath calls on senior players to show the way
STUART Heath has called on the Magpies’ experienced players to “lead by example” tonight as promotion-chasing Dover Athletic arrive in town (7.45pm).
A win for the visitors would cement their position in third in Blue Square Bet South while Dorchester are looking for a first victory in any competition since November 17.
And assistant-manager Heath is eager for the senior members of the squad to show the way and help haul the Magpies away from the bottom of the table.
Heath and boss Phil Simkin are set to have defenders Arran Pugh and Neil Martin back to full fitness after groin and hamstring niggles respectively while Sam Malsom (hamstring) is rated at 50-50 but Lewis Morgan (groin) is out.
Simkin’s second-in-command knows Dover will present another tough challenge for the hosts, who were hit for four by Bromley in their last outing.
But, if the players concentrate on their own game and vary their style of play in the heavy conditions, Heath feels a reversal in fortunes could be just around the corner.
Heath told Echosport: “The players are fully aware of the position we’re in.
“They’re also aware that if they give a performance they know they can give it will work wonders for our position in the table.
“When you’re losing games the confidence and mood isn’t as good as when you’re winning, like it was for us at the start of the season.
“The only way to get through it is hard work and togetherness and if we do that then we will come through.
“It’s a time when all the players, especially the experienced ones, have to step up to the plate and lead by example.
“It’s difficult when you are down the bottom and not winning games, but when you’re on a bad run it can only take one performance and one result to turn things around completely.
“Football can change very quickly.”
Heath has cited the Magpies’ lack of tactical flexibility on difficult pitches as a stumbling block during their recent bad run of form.
“We’ve got to be a bit more flexible,” he added.
“If we go into these matches with one approach then nothing will change from game to game.
“There are times when we’ll have to get the ball forward a little bit quicker but also have the confidence to pass it when we can.
“Bromley were direct at times but also passed it and our performance has got to be better than last Tuesday.
“But the only people who can affect it are the players and tonight is as much about our performance as what Dover do.
“The bottom line is that it’s pretty much the same squad that started the season and went on the cup run and hopefully those players are going to get us out of trouble.
“We aren’t going to make big changes or start to panic. We’ve got to make sure we stick together and play to our potential.”
Magpies: (from) Matthews, Jermyn, Walker, Clough, Pugh, Martin, Colson, Malsom, Nicholls, Gleeson, Crittenden, Watson, Thompson, Smeeton, Brooks