MAGPIES: Simkin's squad down to bare bones

Dorset Echo: GETTING MARRIED: Steve Walker GETTING MARRIED: Steve Walker

IT will be all hands to the pump again for the Magpies tomorrow when Phil Simkin takes a squad hit by injury, unavailability and suspension to Havant & Waterlooville (3pm).

The Dorchester boss has been frantically trying to bolster his ranks this week ahead of the trip to Westleigh Park – a ground the county town club haven’t won at in more than four years.

In fact, the Magpies have lost their last three league games at the Hawks, including a 4-0 thrashing 13 months ago, and conceded 11 goals in the process.

Simkin has admitted his squad is “down to the bare bones” with Harry Bell, Steve Walker, pictured, Jack Twyford, Ashley Vickers and Jake Rowley all missing the match for various reasons.

Both Vickers and Rowley have work commitments, Twyford is serving a suspension picked up playing for the reserves, Walker is getting married and Bell is recovering from a bad ankle injury picked up in the Dorset Senior Cup defeat by Hamworthy United on Wednes-day.

That means Jake Smeeton will move to centre-back alongside skipper Mark Jermyn, there could be a full debut for Alex Godfrey and Josh Wakefield may have to play at right-back.

Speaking to Echosport about the situation, Simkin said: “To say we are going to be up against it tomorrow would be an understatement, but we’ve been up against it before and come through it.

“We’ve played exceptionally well in the last couple of games and we need to play as well as that tomorrow if we are to get anything out of it.

“We know we haven’t got a good record at Havant. It is a particularly difficult place to go and they have got a very strong side this year, which won’t make it any easier for us.”

Simkin was seething with the challenge that saw Bell stretchered off at Hamworthy just minutes into Wednesday’s cup tie.

Fielding a very young side, which included the likes of Harry Reynolds and Oakley Hanger, Dorchester were overpowered by the hosts and ended up losing 4-1.

But the boss was more concerned with Bell’s health and scathing about the tackle that left the youngster in agony and facing a spell on the sidelines.

“It was one of the worst tackles I’ve ever seen,” he added. “Their player just launched himself at Harry from behind and the referee gave him a yellow card.

“I helped carry Harry off and he was in a lot of pain – I thought he had broken his leg.

“It was his right ankle that took the impact and it looks like he’s going to be out for a couple of weeks.

“I’ve been ringing around trying to find reinforcements but there’s only so much I can do.

“I’m hoping to bring in a front player but whether that will be in time for this weekend I don’t know.”

Magpies: (from) Walker-Harris, Smeeton, Jermyn, Wakefield, Way, Lanahan, Gleeson, Crittenden, Godfrey, Goodship, Tennant, Carlile, Rolls, Beasley

* The death has been announced of former Magpie John McIntosh. The talented winger, who played for the club in the 1960s, died on December 4 at Dorset County Hospital.

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