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Madness as Magpies draw Hatters again
THE Magpies could face the prospect of taking on Luton Town twice in just eight days after landing the plum tie in the draw for the first round proper of the FA Trophy.
The county town outfit will host the Hatters on November 24, which could become the prequel to an even bigger clash in the second round of the FA Cup if the Blue Square Bet Premier side come through tonight’s replay at Nuneaton Town.
When asked for his thoughts on the potential double header, which would see the Magpies travel to Kenilworth Road on December 1, Dorchester boss Phil Simkin said: “I don’t know what to think to be honest. We have got so many big games coming up, it is difficult to focus.
“At the moment we are just focusing on tonight’s league game at Havant & Waterlooville but there is no doubt the FA Trophy draw is a great one, mainly because we are at home. It is the biggest draw we could have got in the competition and at the moment it seems we can do no wrong.
“The fact we could face them again a week later in the FA Cup as well is just incredible and there is definite revenue potential there as well.
“However, like I said, we need to concentrate on just one thing at a time, starting with this evening’s trip to Havant, which is going to be very tough indeed.”
Town also travel to Maidenhead United on Saturday and Simkin has admitted that he may have to rotate his squad in a bid to keep up with the ongoing demands of what is proving a very tough schedule.
He added: “We had a really hard game at Didcot Town last Saturday and of course before that we had the Plymouth Argyle clash, so things really are coming thick and fast and it is up to Stuart Heath and I to utilise the squad properly to keep people fresh.
“The only problem with having a cup run is that you tend to lose ground in the league and we need to try and make sure that doesn’t happen.
“We have not done particularly well against Havant in recent times, going back to the mankini-clad streaker incident involving Ashley Vickers, but hopefully we can change that tonight and come away with a good result.”
If team selection was not difficult enough, Simkin also has to consider the fact that Nathan Walker and Charlie Clough are both just one booking away from a one-match ban.
He said: “Charlie and Nathan both have four bookings and it is something Stuart and I obviously need to look at.
“It is very difficult to prioritise to be honest but the FA Cup game is massive because should we get through then who knows?
“A big tie in the third round could have the potential to set the club up for many years so when you look at it that way, that is the biggest game, but it is very difficult.
“Having said that, it is also a nice position to be in, knowing all these things are coming at us, and hopefully we can make the most of them.”
The Magpies had hoped to add another new signing before this evening’s clash but the move is unlikely to happen now until later in the week.
Simkin went on to say: “It has stalled a bit at the moment but we are hopeful it will still happen, even though things have slowed down a bit.
“Hopefully it will go through in time for Saturday.”
Dorchester currently sit 13th in Blue Square Bet South, just four points adrift of the top three with games in hand on the majority of the teams above them, while Havant lie second-bottom.
Magpies (from): Matthews, Walker-Harris, Clough, Walker, Pugh, Smeeton, Jermyn, Green, Gleeson, Gosling, Nicholls, Garcia, Symes, Crittenden, Martin, Chiedozie, Watson, Malsom.