FOOTBALL: Bailey hoping for return to action

COMMITTED: Darren Lock

COMMITTED: Darren Lock

First published in Sport Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

GARY Bailey is keen for his Portland United side to hit the ground running when they go to Shaftesbury Town tomorrow (2pm).

However, whether the Dorset Premier League clash at Cockrams takes place is another thing altogether.

All of the league’s fixtures were washed out last weekend and there could well be several postponements tomorrow too.

While the situation hasn’t been ideal for Bailey and his league leaders, he knows that it is the same for every other manager in the division.

“The weather has obviously been a frustration as we have not played a game since we last met Shaftesbury on December 21,” he said.

“Even a hastily arranged training session last Saturday fell foul of the wet conditions.

“We are keeping the players ticking over at training but nothing replaces game time and obviously the longer the lay off the greater the danger of returning to action a little off the pace.

“The only consolation is that it has been the same for everyone over the past few weeks.

“Hopefully we will play this week, but we have had a lot more rain on already wet ground so there must be an element of doubt.

“All we can do is train well, prepare properly and if it is on then it’s important we get up to speed right from the start.

“Although we won comfortably at home against Shaftesbury a few weeks ago they are a different proposition at their own ground, so we will be going there fully expecting a tough examination.”

The Blues, who won the previous meeting at Grove Corner 7-0, are without Alex Halloran and Ross Carmichael, who are still waiting to serve the final game of their suspensions.

Fifth-placed Bridport Reserves travel to Hamworthy United Reserves (2pm), the side they thrashed 9-2 just last month.

But Bees’ boss Robin Townsend isn’t expecting such a big winning margin this time around.

“They are a reserve side the same as us,” he said. “I spoke to their manager before that last game and he had lads stepping up to their first team that day.

“They are at home this time and may have more players available than last time, you just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Darren Lock has been able to commit himself to the Bees for the rest of the season.

Elsewhere, Weymouth Reserves, in fourth, are also on the road and return to Parley Sports (2pm) to take on the team that knocked them out of the League Cup in November.

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