FOOTBALL: Beware of the Rockies, warns Blues' boss

Dorset Echo: BACK IN CONTENTION: Carl Mutch BACK IN CONTENTION: Carl Mutch

GARY Bailey believes the unpredictable nature of this season’s Dorset Premier League makes every side a potential threat to the Blues’ title ambitions.

The Portland United boss has warned there is no room for complacency as several teams continue to jockey for positions at the top of the table.

Just seven points separate the top five and, although the Blues have games in hand in third, it is clear any loss of form could prove extremely damaging in the race for the crown.

Shaftesbury are the visitors to Grove Corner tomorrow (2pm) and they have already proven they are capable of producing a shock or two.

The mid-table Rockies have failed to pick up a win in their last three league outings but they did beat current table-toppers Merley Cobham Sports earlier in the season, as well as fourth-placed Wey-mouth Reserves.

Bailey said: “Shaftesbury have gone through a bit of change recently.

“They have a new manager and there has also been a bit of a turnaround in players, so you never quite know what you’re going to get with them at the minute, which can make them a dangerous side.

“It’s been such an unpredictable league already this season with everyone taking points off everyone and, because of that, it is vital we keep winning.

“There are still four or five in the mix at the top, so we really cannot afford to be dropping any points.”

Carl Mutch recently returned from a ban and is back in contention for the Blues this weekend. Apart from that, Bailey is expected to go with a similar squad to the one that beat Merley 2-1 back on December 7.

Weymouth Reserves and Brid-port Reserves both face tricky away games at Poole Borough and Hamworthy Recreation respectively (both 2pm).

The Hornets may be lying second-bottom but any trip to Turlin Moor is always tough.

Weymouth boss Jake Richmond said: “They may have dropped down the league but they held Portland to a 3-3 draw at home earlier in the season and also came to our place and did the same.

“It is always a tough place to go but the boys will be up for it and I am sure we can go there and put in a performance.

“Whether we lose a couple of players to the first team, we will just have to wait and see.”

Bridport manager Robin Town-send is also very mindful of his side’s trip to Magna Road.

Rec currently occupy second spot following a run of six straight victories in all competitions.

Townsend said: “It’s a big game and a huge test.

“We beat them 4-3 at our place earlier in the season but they are a good side, particularly at home.

“We should be a bit stronger in terms of options this week so hopefully we can go there and cause a bit of an upset.”

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