When news happens get involved. Send your pictures, views and video to us by text and email
Simkin's delight after Nichols returns
PHIL Simkin has expressed his delight at bringing teenage striker Tom Nichols back to the Avenue for a second spell on-loan from League Two side Exeter City.
The 19-year-old centre-forward scored eight goals in 12 games during a three-month loan stay at the county town club last season, making him a firm favourite with the fans.
This time, he is with Dorchester for a month with Simkin hoping the youngster can have the same impact that he had before while Kieffer Moore continues to shake off a thigh injury.
Both Dorchester and Exeter worked frantically to get Nichols’ loan move through before Friday’s 5pm deadline only for Saturday’s home fixture with AFC Hornchurch to be rained off.
But Somerset-born Nichols will now go straight into the squad for tomorrow’s trip to Weston-super-Mare (7.45pm) where he could form a new strike partnership with the returning Ben Watson.
And Simkin revealed to Echosport that after Nichols’ impressive form for the club last season he was always keen to bring him back to the Avenue. “I’ve had him in mind all along,” said Simkin. “I’d been speaking to Exeter to see if there was any chance we could bring him back and then suddenly out of the blue they said ‘yes’.
“Our secretary Dave Martin and the people at Exeter worked miracles to get him signed three minutes before the deadline on Friday.”
He went on: “He’s not the biggest front player but he’s got good pace and great movement off the ball.
“He is a very good player and enjoyed his time here before and was a very popular lad within the squad and with the supporters.
“Unfortunately, we had a lot of postponements in the time he was here and he didn’t play that many games and since then he’s been on the fringes of the Exeter first team and went on-loan to Hereford and Bath.
“Having him here also gives Kieffer a chance to get back to full fitness. He’s improving and getting treatment at Exeter with some ultrasound and he’s not that far away.
“But we have to make sure he is right before he gets out on the pitch again. He’s all about pace and power and he’s not doing us or himself any favours by coming back when he’s not ready.”
When asked about other areas where the Magpies may need additional cover, specifically in goal and at centre-back, Simkin said: “I’m happy with Jason Matthews and we’ve got two young keepers in Dan Floyd and Jordan Tewkesbury as cover.
“Should anything come up then it’s possible but if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
“I’m happy with what we’ve got in defence too. Mark Jermyn can cover at centre-back and Steve Walker is waiting to make his debut while we’ve got Calvin Brooks as well.
“He hasn’t got much experience either but is a good athlete and a good player.”
The Magpies also have midfielder Jamie Symes available after his loan spell at Bridport came to an end.
The question over extra manpower at the centre of defence comes with three key players – Charlie Clough, Arran Pugh and Nathan Walker – either serving or about to serve suspensions.
With last Tuesday’s Farnborough match now rescheduled for a week Tuesday (March 26), Clough will see out the remainder of his four-match ban by missing the fixtures with Weston-super-Mare, Hayes & Yeading and Farnborough.
Pugh misses Weston and Hayes while Walker is absent for the Hayes, Farn-borough and Staines clashes. However, all that could change again depending on the weather.
Simkin is still adamant, though, that not one of the three original red cards for his men were correct decisions.
“I don’t feel any of the three were warranted,” he added. “Charlie’s at Tonbridge came when one of their players jumped in at Jem, Charlie fronted him up and then ended up on the floor getting kicked. When he got up he was sent off.
“Arran’s was a totally unjust red card against Eastbourne when their player threw himself into Arran and then to the ground.
“But I can’t help feeling that was my fault because with Eastbourne’s behaviour I should have taken him off before he got a second yellow.
“As for Nathan’s, even the Boreham Wood manager said to me it was one of the harshest red cards he’d ever seen.”