DORCHESTER Town centre-back Ross Carmichael revealed he was initially “sceptical” about moving to the Avenue Stadium from Portland United last summer.

Carmichael, who has played 38 times for Dorchester this season, scoring one goal, enjoyed a successful 2016/17 campaign with the Blues, winning the Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division under boss Gary Bailey.

But the defender was one of four Portland players to link up with the Magpies in pre-season, with Ed Bastick and the now departed Max Buckler and Jamie Beasley.

Having previously had concerns about the switch, Carmichael revelled in the “test” of competing two leagues higher.

He told Echosport: “Obviously the first couple of weeks I was a bit sceptical to see the standard. It’s two levels and the standard is so much higher.

“So to put myself out there and give it a go was a bit of a test, but after two or three weeks I was properly growing into it and comfortably plying my trade.”

Carmichael has been an ever-present in the Magpies’ defence this season, cementing the left-sided centre-back role and counting skipper Gary Bowles, Jordan Storey and Callum Rose as regular partners.

The ex-Blues man’s displays quickly saw him evolve into a fans’ favourite at the Avenue, and Carmichael admitted he had taken encouragement from the fans reaction to him.

He said: “The fans are great. The more you play, the more they say good things about you. It obviously does give you that confidence.

“As long as I’m playing week-in, week-out and I’m putting in those performances and the fans are enjoying that, that’s why you play football.

“I was with Jordan before and then Exeter recalled him. Callum’s come in and I think he’s excellent, he’s got everything.

“He’s not exactly the biggest centre-back but he’s got a hell of a leap on him and he’s great on the ball. To play with him is great.”

With only goalkeeper Chris Weale, on 40,

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having played more games for the Magpies this season, Carmichael admitted he did not expect to play so often.

He said: “I would like to say yes, but I did want to come in and they were after a left-sided centre-half with a left foot.

“I did speak to Trev (Senior, assistant-manager) and he said that if I was going to come over I’d probably be starting, but it all depends how you get on.

“I’m glad that I’ve cemented my place within the team, there’s a great bunch of lads and I can’t wait for the rest of the season, and hopefully next season.”