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DPL PREVIEWS: Pressure is on Rec, insists Weymouth boss Richmond
THE top two are set to face off at the Bob Lucas Stadium tomorrow and Jake Richmond believes all the pressure is on Hamworthy Recreation (2pm).
The Weymouth reserve-team boss has guided his young side to the top of the table in recent weeks but instead of dreaming of a possible title push, he remains fully focused on development.
Commenting on this weekend’s clash, Richmond told Echosport: “It’s a big game for Hamworthy Rec.
“They are five points behind us with two games in hand, so it is one they cannot afford to lose.
“For us, it’s not a big game, it’s just about my players performing and trying to get in the first-team squad.
“As long as they go out and play as well they can, that is all I am worried about.”
When asked about his thoughts on the title race, Richmond added: “If there are five games left and we are in the same position we are now, then I might believe we have a chance. At the moment, winning the league hasn’t really crossed my mind.
“It’s great we are being taken seriously and people are giving us a bit of respect, but Portland United will most likely win it and then it will just be about who comes second.”
The table-topping Terras have won their last four in the Dorset Premier League while Rec are unbeaten in their last nine in all competitions.
The duo met at Magna Road back in October when Hamwor-thy ran out 3-0 winners.
Richmond said: “We have brought in a couple of new faces and we have got a dec- ent squad but it’s more about how the lads handle it.
“With youngsters, you do get inconsistencies but I also know that if they go out and play to their potential, they will always stand a chance again anyone in this division.”
Richmond has no injury concerns ahead of the encounter but could lose a couple of his men to the first team.
Third-place Portland, who host Holt United tomorrow (2pm), also trail the Terras by five points but with three games in hand.
The Blues suffered a shock 3-0 defeat at Blandford United last time out and desperately need to bounce back at the first attempt.
Ed Bastick is absent for the islanders through work commitments while Ross Doidge is a doubt due to an ankle injury.
Portland manager Gary Bailey said: “Having an almost full squad to choose from is a rare luxury and it gives us an opportunity to have a look at different options, and, maybe, freshen things up a bit, especially after the disappointing showing in our last game.
“Holt are much improved since we played them earlier in the season and I’m sure they will prove to be tough opponents.
“As we move into what is going to be a busy last few months of the season, it’s important that we recapture the quality and consistency that we had leading up to Christmas.”
Finally, Bridport Reserves will also be out to make amends at Wareham Rangers (2pm), following their recent loss at Cran-borne.
* Table-toppers Chickerell United travel to Gillingham Town Reserves in the Dorset Senior League, while Portland United Reserves make the trip to Westland Sports (both 2pm).