STEWART Yetton is anticipating a feisty affair against Poole Town and is urging the Terras’ fans to come out in force for the occasion.

The Boxing Day clash at the Bob Lucas Stadium (3pm) is expected to attract a bumper crowd, with local bragging rights still very much on the line, following the lively 2-2 league draw between the two clubs earlier in the campaign.

Weymouth did knock the Dolphins out of the Red Insure Cup back in November but, with Tommy Killick having fielded a weakened side in that fixture, the local rivalry is far from over this season, with Thursday’s encounter being billed as the big decider.

Yetton, who has scored 18 goals in all competitions for the Terras so far this term, told Echosport: “It’s a big game and the prospect of a big crowd coming out for it just adds to the excitement.

“It also adds to the pressure but I enjoy that and I am sure all the lads will rise to the occasion.

“Poole are strong and up near the top of the table so I expect it to be a feisty and competitive match.

“And if it is wet, which it looks it could be, there could be plenty of thrills and spills too.

“Hopefully we can go out there and put in a good performance so those fans that do turn out come back again in the future.”

Poole currently occupy the last play-off berth in the Calor Southern Premier Division, while the Terras sit 11 points below them in 15th, having played two games more.

Weymouth had high hopes of finishing in the top five themselves at the start of the season but for one reason or another have failed to realise their potential.

Yetton added: “Our record against the teams above us so far this season has not been great.

“A couple of weeks ago, we had only picked up two points from the top-10 sides and that is clearly not good enough.

“When we come up against the stronger teams we have struggled to break them down and, as a result, have ended up getting undone at the other end.

“That is why we need to make sure we are completely on the ball from the start on Thursday otherwise it could turn out to be a difficult afternoon.”

The Terras won 4-1 against Bedford on Saturday but Yetton knows the Poole game is going to be a much tougher task.

He continued: “No disrespect to Bedford but we should be beating sides like that anyway and, make no bones about it, Poole are going to be a very different challenge.

“First and foremost, we are going to have to be very solid.

“If we are well organised as a unit and keep them out we will always have a chance.

“However, we also need to start creating more chances against the top sides and start putting them under more pressure.

“We have individual players that should be doing a lot better than what they are and hopefully we can prove that in this game.”

The match will also see several players take on their former sides.

Former Dolphins' duo Michael Walker and Luke Burbidge are expected to line up for the Terras while ex-Weymouth assets Carl Preston and Warren Byerley are likely to be in the Poole ranks. Sam Clarke, another former Terra, is suspended.

For Yetton though, it is another player that could hold the key for the hosts.

He said: “When Ben Joyce gets in those little pockets of space in behind the forwards he can cause defenders a lot of problems.

“He is very good technically and, although he might not score all the goals, he creates a lot for other people.

“I really enjoyed playing up top with him again on Saturday and he is the type of player that can win the game for us.”

Yetton was “devastated” when Brendon King lost the manager’s job at the Terras just a fortnight ago but he has also been impressed with how Jason Matthews has adapted to the role of caretaker- manager.

He said: “I am not going to lie, when Brendon left, I was devastated.

“He is one of the best guys I have ever met in the game and he is someone I will have a friendship with long after football.

“I have spoken to him since and thanked him for everything he has done, and I obviously wish him well for the future.

“As for Jason Matthews, he has done really well since he has taken over.

“To be a keeper and manage the team at the same time is a very tough task, but he has adapted to it really well.

“He has put a lot of confidence into the lads, taken a bit of the pressure off them and so far it has been an enjoyable time.

“He has also got some good backroom staff in Paul Maitland and Mickey Greeno, and some good senior players to support him too.

“It certainly wasn’t a case where the manager went and everyone’s heads were on the floor because we knew we couldn’t afford to be like that.

“So far the response has been good and hopefully we can continue that on Thursday.”

Ashley Wells is back available from suspension for the Terras but Dave Allen and Jamie Symes remain sidelined through injury and illness respectively.

Terras (from): Matthews, Cafer, Poole, M Walker, N Walker, McConnell, Wells, Green, Clay, Winsper, S Walker, Burbidge, Joyce, Yetton, McClements, Ford.

*Under-16s will be given free admission at the Bob Lucas Stadium on Boxing Day in return for a minimum donation of £1 to the Sepsis Trust on entry to the ground.

This gesture, which has been organised by the Terras’ board and the Weymouth FC Supporters Association, has been designed to raise more awareness of the illness, which almost claimed midfielder Kyle Critchell’s life earlier this year.

A bucket collection will also take place in aid of the cause at half-time.

*Goalkeeper Matt Cafer has been released by Yeovil Town.