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Simkin: We are now seeing the best of Dorchester defender Pugh
THE countdown to the end of a testing and tiring season for Dorchester Town begins tonight with a battle against Farnborough (7.45pm) at the Avenue marking the first of the club’s last 10 fixtures.
And despite being eighth in Blue Square Bet South, Phil Simkin still feels points are needed to make absolutely sure of his side’s safety.
While a string of players have had to deal with injuries and illness in recent weeks, Arran Pugh, arguably the Magpies’ standout performer against Boreham Wood last Saturday, has come into his own.
Dorchester boss Simkin believes that only now are the fans getting to see the real Pugh following his move from Truro last September.
“Arran Pugh has been incredible,” he told Echosport. “He’s been playing injured for weeks and takes painkillers before every game.
“He has taken half a season to settle with us after seven years at Truro where they won everything.
“People don’t realise it takes certain players different lengths of time to settle and he didn’t get in the side straight away because Nathan Walker was playing with Charlie Clough.
“Arran lost a bit of confidence but now I know it’s the Arran Pugh that I signed who’s out on that pitch.”
Pugh’s red card at Eastbourne sees him miss the forthcoming games against Weston-super-Mare and Hayes & Yeading while Clough is suspended tonight and Walker’s dismissal on Saturday means he misses three matches starting at Hayes.
Striker Kieffer Moore will not be involved tonight but Ben Watson is likely to make a comeback, meaning youngster Josh Tennant is in the squad again after making his debut against Boreham Wood as a replacement for Moore.
“There are 10 games to go and I don’t know how long I can keep flogging these players twice a week,” added Simkin, whose side will have played 14 games in 46 days by the end of tonight.
“We saw what they put in on Saturday and they’ll have had two-and-a-bit days to recover.
“I don’t know how many times they can do it before we run out of bodies.
“I though 45 points would get us safe but it’s looking like it could be 50 so we need another four points.
“We’ve got a lot of hard games to play but it looks as if Truro are cast adrift now so it will just be a case of who joins them.”
Simkin is disappointed that the team and the fans haven’t been able to see the best of Moore following his move from Truro.
The manager admitted he “probably brought him back a week too early” after seeing the centre forward go off with a recurrence of his thigh problem on Saturday.
“Kieffer won’t be involved at all against Farnborough,” said Simkin. “He’ll be having treatment the whole week and we’ll just try and get him right.
Magpies: (from) Matthews, Jermyn, Smeeton, N Walker, Pugh, Gleeson, Crittenden, Nicholls, Morgan, Martin, Malsom, Watson, Tennant, S Walker, Bell, Floyd
* Weymouth Avenue, from the Tesco roundabout to Dorchester Police Station, will be closed in both directions between 7pm tonight and 6am tomorrow due to on-going road works. Anyone going to the game is advised to allow extra time for their journey.