DORCHESTER Town chief Phil Simkin has hailed Stuart Heath as one of his “best ever signings”.

Speaking ahead of the Magpies’ first friendly of the summer at home to Torquay United tomorrow (3pm), Simkin described his assistant as an “integral part of the set-up” at the Avenue.

The club’s pre-season training sessions have been lauded by new arrivals Dan Cann and Dan Smith, and a lot of that, according to Simkin, is down to Heath.

The former Portland United boss has been Simkin’s second-in-command for the last two seasons and the latter couldn’t praise his deputy enough when assessing his squad’s preparations for next term.

“Stuart and I decided that we needed to revamp the training sessions a bit and that’s what we have done,” said Simkin.

“And he has put in some excellent sessions, he really has, and players have enjoyed it.

“When I played we used to go for a five-mile run on the roads and over hills, but that’s all old hat now.

“It’s all about short and sharp drills, that’s what players want to do, and it’s more relevant to matches.”

He went on to add: “Stuart has been one of my best ever signings and we have become good friends over the years.

“We can bounce things off each other and he is an integral part of the set-up.”

Simkin will be seeing if those training sessions pay dividends on the pitch when the Gulls, relegated to the Conference Premier last season, visit the county town tomorrow.

As well as the first-team squad, Simkin is going to take a look at a couple of trialists who will hope to impress the Dorchester manager.

“I’m looking forward to getting things underway again,” said Simkin. “Last season was a complete one off and everyone wants to put it behind them.

“Like us, Torquay had a poor season last season, but they are still full-time professionals and it will be a hard game for us.

“Ask anyone in the game and they will say there’s no such thing as a friendly, all players are competitive and when they play they want to win.

“I’d just like to get our main squad up and running, hopefully use a few trialists, and what I’m looking at is the players’ fitness levels and their match sharpness.”

*Entry for tomorrow’s game is £10 for adults and £6 for concession, while those 16 and under can get in for free.

A special three-match deal for the club’s friendlies against Torquay, Gosport Borough (July 15) and AFC Bournemouth (July 19) is available at £20 for adults and £12 for concessions.