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MAGPIES: Crucial double-header for Magpies, says Stuart Heath
THE Magpies’ Skrill South campaign may only be one game old but assistant-manager Stuart Heath insists they must make the most of home advantage in the double-header against Weston-super-Mare tonight (7.45pm) and Whitehawk on Saturday.
And Heath is hoping the Avenue crowd can play a big part in helping their side bounce back from last Saturday’s defeat to Staines on the opening day of the season.
Tonight’s opponents Weston also slipped to a 1-0 loss in their first outing of the new term so both teams will be keen to get their points tally moving.
“Points at the start of the season are crucial,” said Heath. “We’ve got two home games over the next few days against sides that both lost on Saturday.
“We need to make home advantage count and hopefully the fans will get behind us after a summer of changes at the club.
“We’ll be up against a talented team in Weston and they will come here keen to get some points on the board too.
“Pound for pound, I think us and Weston were the two best teams in the league last season and although they have changed their squad a bit they’ll still be hard to beat.
“The next two games are crucial for us and we need to pull together and make sure we pick up some points.”
Dorchester are expected to name an unchanged squad from the one that lost to a Louie Theophanous penalty at Staines.
The return to fitness of captain Mark Jermyn provided manager Phil Simkin with a much-needed boost on Saturday after Jake Smeeton fractured a toe in training two days before.
And while delighted to have Jermyn back and Arran Pugh not too far away from a return as well, Heath believes Smeeton is going to be a big loss.
“We’ve got a small squad and Jake’s injury is a big blow,” he added. “He started pre-season like he finished last season so to lose him less than 48 hours before the first game was difficult.
“We had to alter our personnel and shape but Jake will be back in a few weeks.
“Danny Green has been out for a long time and we have to keep monitoring his fitness, and that goes for Jem too.
“Pughy is getting closer and we’re hoping he will come into the squad after some reserve-team games.”
Magpies (from): Sandercombe, Jermyn, Walker, Clough, Green, Martin, Way, Gleeson, Morgan, Crittenden, Beasley, Ward, Watson, Goodship, Ramday, Blackmore, Tennant, Walker-Harris.
*The club has confirmed that Elliot Ward is with them on a non-contract basis and hasn’t signed a one-year deal as previously stated.
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