TERRAS: Defending must improve says skipper Poole

Dorset Echo: DEFENSIVE PRIORITIES: Sam Poole DEFENSIVE PRIORITIES: Sam Poole

GOALS appear to be guaranteed tonight when Weymouth take on Burnham at the Bob Lucas Stadium (7.45pm).

The Terras have conceded 14 in their last five league games while the Blues have shipped 22 in their last five in all competitions.

Weymouth player-manager Jason Matthews has been extremely disappointed with his side’s defending of late and is demanding improvements, particularly following Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at St Albans.

Club skipper Sam Poole told Echosport: “Jason will be after a reaction tonight and it is up to us players to give him that.

“We have been conceding too many goals recently and, as a team, need to address that situation as quickly as possible.

“We need to be a bit more solid and we also need to play ourselves into games a bit more.

“St Albans went at us from the first whistle and got their reward with an early goal, which then allowed them to settle.

“We need to be stronger than that and it is probably a mental thing more than anything else.

“You just cannot afford to have any lapses in concentration at this level because teams will punish you for them.

“That is what has been happening of late. Even when we beat Bideford, we conceded straight after scoring the first goal and it is those sorts of things we need to cut out.

“In order to do that, every individual needs to take responsibility and make sure they are on their game every time we go out there.”

Burnham have been going through troubled times of late.

A mid-season budget cut has led to several departures on the playing front and there has also been a change of manager with Rob Mallinson replacing Martin Stone, who stepped down last month.

Since mid-January, the Blues have suffered defeats at Cam-bridge City (7-2), Bideford (4-0) and Hungerford (7-3), but Poole is not taking anything for granted.

He added: “Whoever you come up against in this league, you know it is going to be a battle. Burnham may have been struggling but they are going to want to win just as much as we do.

“The most important thing is that we don’t give them any encouragement and enable them to gain a foothold in the game.

“That is what they will be looking for in the first 20 minutes and it is vital we don’t allow them to get that.

“If we stay solid defensively, I have no doubts we will able to hurt them with our extra quality going forward.”

The Terras will be without Ashley Wells (groin), Ben Joyce (shin splints), Mark Ford (foot) and Lee Sharpe (holiday) this evening while Luke Winsper, Niall Thompson and Carl McClements are all doubts.

It is also unclear whether new signing Steve Colwell will feature due to his dual registration with Plymouth Parkway, who are also in action tonight against Exeter City in the semi-finals of the Westinsure St Lukes Cup.

Tonight’s game will also be Luke Burbidge’s last before going away on a two-week holiday, which he booked before he joined the club.

Terras (from): Matthews, Poole, M Walker, McConnell, Green, Winsper, Colwell, Kelly, Rigg, Burbidge, Thompson, S Walker, Yetton, McClements.

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