AS the Magpies prepare to say their goodbyes to the Conference South, Phil Simkin believes the experiences of the past season have made him a better manager.

It may have been a campaign he wants to forget in a hurry, but Simkin feels “a lot stronger” as a result of the rollercoaster ride that ultimately led to his team’s relegation.

Dorchester go to Ebbsfleet United tomorrow (3pm) for their final game of the season in the hope of signing off on a positive note before life in the Southern Premier League.

And even if they don’t get the result they are looking for, Simkin’s men should at least be able to bring the curtain down on their season in front of a packed stadium.

Ebbsfleet, chasing promotion to the Conference Premier, are offering supporters free entry to the fixture.

Reflecting on the season and the effect it has had on him, Simkin told Echosport: “There are times when it gets on top of you and you get upset.

“But, if anything, it’s made me a lot stronger, and it hasn’t dented my passion for the game at all.

“It has certainly made me a better manager and I will go into next season a far better manager than I was this season.

“I’d like to think the players will be the same.

“With everything that has happened I think we are all looking forward to getting this season out of the way.

“It certainly won’t be forgotten but we’ll be glad to see the back of it and make a fresh start next season.”

On the game itself, he added: “They’ve given free entry for the game so it’s likely there will be 3-4,000 there which would be a good way to finish.

“And if we play like we did on Monday then we’ve got every chance of getting something from the game – we’re not going for a day out or to roll over.”

Simkin is eager to get all his business in the transfer market done by June to give what will be a largely new-look squad the chance to bed in.

While Clive Makoni has left the club to go travelling and Warren Byerley is back at Poole, Elliott Chamberlain, Jake McCarthy and Nathan Walker are all set to return to their parent clubs following tomorrow’s clash.

However, whether any of them will be back at the Avenue next season still remains to be seen.

Magpies (from): Walker-Harris, Lanahan, Way, Jermyn, N Walker, S Walker, McCarthy, Smeeton, Chamberlain, Case, Losasso, Munday, Twyford, Hanger, Smith, Murphy

*The funeral of life vice-president John Merrett, who passed away over the Easter period, takes place at Weymouth Crematorium next Monday at 4pm. Refreshments will be served at the Avenue from around 5pm.