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Crunch time for Magpies
TONIGHT’S tussle with Billericay Town holds extra significance for the Magpies as far as boss Phil Simkin is concerned.
The Dorchester Town chief reckons not only would three points virtually end any threat of relegation but could firmly establish the county town club’s position as a candidate for the play-offs.
However, whether or not Kieffer Moore is available after missing Saturday’s win at Tonbridge Angels with a thigh injury remains to be seen.
The striker’s fitness is due to be assessed prior to kick-off (7.45pm) but midfielder Nick Crittenden is fit again following hamstring trouble.
Currently eighth in Blue Square Bet South, 10 points above the drop-zone, the Magpies are only six points adrift of Boreham Wood, who occupy the fourth play-off berth.
“We have got a big game against Billericay and if we can win that I would say our relegation fears are probably over,” Simkin told Echosport.
“But winning would also mean we can look in the other direction. There is one, if not two, play-off places up for grabs and we’ve got a chance of going for that.
“We are playing very well and the boys are confident and we’ve got goals in us which we didn’t have before Christmas.
“It’s a massive game for us. When we went up there earlier in the season they beat us up and that’s not going to happen again.
“If we win it puts us in reach of the play-offs but it will be a very difficult game against a big side that is direct and not easy to play against.”
The Magpies have won four of their last five in the league while Billericay, one place off the bottom of the table, have just one victory in eight.
And after a real struggle with injuries since the turn of the year, Simkin is now looking at a much healthier squad with the likes of Ashley Nicholls, Ben Watson and captain Mark Jermyn back to full fitness.
“Injuries were looking to be a problem but Jem and Ash are back now and it’s surprising in football how winning helps people get fit a bit quicker,” Simkin added.
“Confidence improves and people feel better, that’s the way football goes, and now we haven’t got the injury problems we did have.
“We’ve been a on a great run and need to keep that going.”
On the fitness of Moore, he went on: “We’re not going to know until this evening. He’s got more of a chance than he had on Saturday but if he’s not right then I don’t want to risk him damaging it any more.
“We’re going to wait for him to come in and our physio is going to have a look at it and give him a fitness test before the match. Only then will we know if he is fit enough to play.”
Magpies: (from) Buchel, Jermyn, Smeeton, N Walker, Pugh, Gleeson, Nicholls, Malsom, Martin, Watson, Clough, Moore, Crittenden, Morgan, Way, Brooks, S Walker, Matthews