NICK Crittenden’s return from suspension couldn’t come soon enough for Magpies’ boss Phil Simkin, who has underlined just how important the midfielder is to his team’s fight for survival.

A one-game ban kept Crittenden out of the 3-0 loss at Weston-super-Mare but he will be back for the visit of Hayes & Yeading tomorrow (3pm) after the New Year’s Day game away to Eastleigh was postponed.

The long-serving former Yeovil Town man has been an integral part of the Dorchester squad in recent years, and is key to his side’s chances of finishing outside the drop-zone this term.

“Critts has been outstanding this season,” said Simkin. “He loves playing the game and is a role model for any young player.

“He looks after himself very well and his form has been incredible.

“He’s not someone you can replace when he is missing and that showed at Weston.”

When asked how long the 35-year-old could go on playing for, Simkin replied: “How long is a piece of string?

“He has always taken care of himself and I have no doubt he will go into next season with the club.”

Like the Magpies, Hayes & Yeading have seen several changes in personnel this season, losing top scorer Jake Reid to leaders Bromley just last month.

However, manager Phil Babb, the ex-Coventry, Liverpool and Ireland defender, has recently added a few new faces to his ranks.

One of them, Dan Thompson, will be familiar to Dorchester supporters having been on loan at the Avenue during the last campaign.

“Weston was a very bad day for us but we have written that off now,” added Simkin. “We will go into tomorrow’s game trying to win, it’s as simple as that.

“They are going to prove stiff opposition, no doubt about that, but we’ve been playing reasonably well lately and it won’t be an easy game for them.

“They’ve lost their top scorer to Bromley, which is a blow for them, but every side in this league is difficult to play against.”

The Woking-based visitors are 11th in the Skrill South standings and are without a win in their last three outings.

Magpies: (from) Walker-Harris, Case, Colmer, Jermyn, Walker, Smeeton, Gleeson, Crittenden, Way, Lanahan, Tennant, Makoni, Twyford, Brooks, Munday, Rolls, Godfrey.

* The club may be seeking volunteers to help fork the Avenue pitch ahead of Saturday’s game. If you can help, get in touch via