Dorset Echo: MAGPIES’ JOY: Nathan Walker and Mark Jermyn

PHIL Simkin has all but conceded defeat in the fight to have Mark Jermyn fit for tonight’s six-pointer against Basingstoke Town (7.45pm).

The Magpies’ influential club captain (above, right) missed the defeat to Welling with an ankle problem and has virtually no chance of returning to the side as Simkin’s men go for a crucial three points at the Avenue.

Midfielder Nick Crittenden is definitely out of tonight’s game but “may” be back for Saturday’s visit of table-toppers Salisbury City, according to the Dorchester boss.

One player the Magpies can call on tonight is Portland United striker Carl Mutch, who will go into the squad after signing dual registration forms last week.

Simkin also told Echosport he is likely to wait until seeing the Basingstoke line-up around an hour ahead of kick-off before deciding on his team’s formation.

Dorchester went with three central defenders and five across the back at Welling and that approach, Simkin says, is not something he would limit to away fixtures.

On his tactics, he said: “I haven’t really decided yet. If I need to I’ll wait and see what their teamsheet looks like and what side they are putting out.

“I won’t use five at the back just for away games because I thought it worked quite well on Saturday. And they will give us a hard game tonight. We beat them 1-0 in the cup earlier in the season but they’ve got a lot of players back from injury.

“It’s such a big game for both sides.”

While the boss is resigned to losing Jermyn for the encounter, he is glad to have someone with the experience of Mutch available to him.

“Nick Crittenden is definitely out and Mark Jermyn almost certainly won’t make it,” he added.

“Nick may have a chance this weekend but to be fair, at 34, he is not going to be the quickest to heal.

“That’s a great shame because it looked like he was getting back to his best.

“Mark has got an ankle problem which is improving slightly but the physio isn’t sure exactly what the problem is.

“We’ll be bringing Carl Mutch into the squad. He’s a big bustling centre forward who most central defenders wouldn’t like to mark.

“He’s been around a little while but he is still only 26 or 27. He played for Weymouth when Steve Claridge was there and then for me at Hamworthy in the Wessex League.

“He formed a front two at Hamworthy with Warren By-erley and they were a good pairing.

“Carl hasn’t played at this level for a long time but he has got a good knowledge of the game.”

Dorchester, in 19th, are one place and one point above Basingstoke in Blue Square Bet South and tonight will be the first of two meetings between the teams in 11 days.

Magpies: (from) Walker-Harris, Bell, Martin, Walker, Pugh, Clough, Gleeson, Nicholls, Watson, Malsom, Morgan, Mutch, Way, Brooks, Carlile, Smeeton, Matthews.