Dorchester Town are sweating on the fitness of Jamie Gleeson ahead of tomorrow’s Blue Square Bet South curtain-raiser.
The hard-working midfielder, who enjoyed arguably his best season with the club last term, is suffering from a virus and could therefore miss the visit of Eastbourne Borough (3pm).
Manager Phil Simkin told Echosport: “We’ve had a bit of a setback already in that Glees has picked up a virus.
“We’re not quite sure how he is going to be so we will just have to wait and see if he is fit enough to start.
“If not then it’ll be a blow as he is a very important player for us. He was excellent for us last season and he has been excellent during pre-season.”
On the flipside, winger Nick Crittenden has shaken off a recent ankle injury and is expected to line-up at the Avenue Stadium.
Simkin added: “Critts will start. He trained on Tuesday night and was flying. Having him on the pitch is a massive boost.”
Another man in fine form, according to the Magpies’ boss, is striker Ben Watson, who will make his competitive debut for the club against the side he left in the summer.
Simkin said: “Ben was almost unplayable in training on Tuesday, no one could get near him. If he can take that into tomorrow’s game, against his old team, I will be delighted.”
Dorchester finished the 2011/12 season seven places clear of tomorrow’s opponents.
But having strengthened their squad with a number of big-name signings, Borough will provide a “big test” in the opinion of Simkin.
He added: “They are a decent side with good players. They have spent a lot of money during the summer and like all games in this league, it will be a big test for us.
“We will just do what we are good at and hope we get a bit of luck along the way and get off to a good start.
“We don’t normally have the best of starts but hopefully that will change tomorrow. In our first game last season we lost 4-0 at Dover and we certainly don’t want a repeat of that.”
Meanwhile, Simkin remains on the trail of a mystery winger, as revealed in Wednesday’s Echosport, but any potential move is unlikely to be sealed until next week.
“It’s on hold at the moment but hopefully something will happen next week,” said the county town chief.
Magpies (from): Matthews, Bell, Wannell, Martin, Jermyn, Walker, Clough, Nicholls, Gleeson, Symes, Ward, Crittenden, Morgan, Malsom, Watson, Reid.