BRIDPORT manager Jamie Manley expects a “toughie” against Buckland Athletic as the Bees prepare for their Toolstation Western League Premier Division contest at St Mary’s Field tonight (7.45pm).

Manley’s men were narrowly beaten 2-1 on Saturday at Brislington but face a Buckland side who have seen an upward trend in results since boss Richard Pears departed in September.

Director of football Adam Castle has since stepped up for his latest spell in charge of Athletic, who sit in a lowly 16th – three places above Bridport – having taken ninth last season.

Their tally of nine points is just two greater than the Bees, who will be looking to seal a first home victory of the season.

Manley said: “It’s going to be a toughie, that’s for sure. They’ve got a new manager – I don’t know if they’ve picked up a few players but I should imagine they’ll get a few lads back in.

“It won’t be easy but after (Saturday) there should be a little more confidence. We’ll look forward to Buckland, we’ll be organised and we’ll give it our all.”

Manley paid credit to the Bees’ fans and aims to repay their loyalty with a good performance.

“Bridport has always been well supported,” he said. “If you can get it right on the pitch, the supporters will turn up – that’s what we’ll be trying to do.

“Last time we had the Ground Hop, but being midweek hopefully we’ll get another good crowd in and get the three points.

“You can’t take anything for granted in this league but we’ll be looking to kick on.”

Manley also teased the addition of new recruits in the future, adding: “We’re looking to strengthen and we should have another couple of signings.

“At least one signing in the next couple of weeks, if not two. We had Tom Salter come in (at Brislington) for his debut and he did really well at full-back. He was a major plus. He’s been on dual-registration with Westland.”

Aston Butcher could make his debut, while Lloyd Beals (knee) is a doubt.