Magpies looking for a rise

Dorset Echo: DEAD LEG: Dan Thompson DEAD LEG: Dan Thompson

THIS season’s Blue Square Bet South might be the most open he can remember but Magpies’ manager Phil Simkin has told his players it is definitely a case of safety first for them.

Just three points separate Dor-chester in 19th place and Hayes & Yeading in eighth, while you could throw a blanket over the top three, which is headed by leaders Salis-bury City.

Providing the wet weather does not strike again, the Magpies will go to Bath City tomorrow (3pm) hoping for a first league game in three weeks and a win to climb away from the foot of the table.

Although they are closer to the bottom than the top, Dorchester, with games in hand over everyone else, are eight points off the play-offs.

But Simkin insists survival is paramount before the club can think about bigger and better things.

“We’ve slipped right down the table because we simply haven’t played any games recently,” he told Echosport.

“It’s a strange league this season and the most open it’s been for years. Salisbury will win it because they are full-time but Welling should push them all the way.

“I wouldn’t like to pick the play-off teams, other than Welling, and it could be anybody going down.

“All I’m concerned about is getting to 40 points.

“We’ve still got 27 games to play between now and the end of the season and if we were to draw all of those then we’d have 49.

“We’re not looking at anything else until we get to 40.

“The cup run was great but something like that does take your focus off the league so we have to put it behind us now and knuckle down.”

Dorchester travel to Bath with the same squad that went to Truro City on Boxing Day though Dan Thompson picked up a dead leg in training and misses out. Arran Pugh is still waiting to serve a one-match suspension.

Goals from Nathan Walker and Neil Martin gave the Magpies a 2-1 victory over Bath at the Avenue in August and tomorrow’s hosts are without a win in their last three in the league.

Simkin’s men were last night preparing with a training match against Dave Kiteley’s reserve side, who go to Totton in the Wyvern Combination League Premier Division tom-orrow (3pm).

Magpies: (from) Matthews, Jermyn, Walker, Clough, Martin, Gosling, Gleeson, Nicholls, Colson, Logan, Watson, Smeeton, Critten-den, Symes, Molson, Way, Brooks

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