TOM Killick believes an increase in standard in the Pitching In Southern League Premier South this season means teams in the bottom half are more likely to upset top-11 clubs.

Killick’s analysis comes before his Dorchester Town side, in 20th of the 22 clubs, welcome former leaders Gosport Borough, in fourth, to the Avenue Stadium tomorrow (3pm).

Dorchester are currently on a run of five matches unbeaten, leaving them within three points of 14th and one of safety.

The Magpies beat Merthyr, another side in the play-offs, 3-2 during that stretch and Killick feels the so-called weaker teams have closed the gap in 2023/24.

He told Echosport: “At this stage of the season, teams in the top five are there because they’re very good teams with very good players.

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“You know that whatever form they’re in they’re a tough proposition. I do feel that the stand-out teams for the last year were Truro, Weston-super-Mare, Bracknell and Poole, perhaps Chesham.

“Two of those have been promoted, Poole and Bracknell have had a real dip in levels, and that means in terms of the top half, it’s a lot more even.

“I do think, and I’m not just saying this, that there’s been an improvement in the bottom end.

“The sides occupying the bottom places are stronger than they have been in previous seasons.

“That’s not a view that others will share and perhaps people will think I’m saying that because we’re occupying one of those positions.

“But I do tend to think in terms of the ability level of the teams that the gap is smaller.

“When you play against these top sides, you do tend to feel you’ve got a slightly better chance than might’ve been the case in previous seasons.”

Gosport arrive in Dorset having signed ex-Dorchester players Alfie Stanley and Pedro Borges, with Boro having only won once in six league games.

Killick said: “They’re not going to be complacent, they’ll be in a real state of determination to turn things around.

“It’s another tough test. I’m not really interested in form.

“We have to respect the players they’ve got and be as aware as we can as to the strengths they have, be as well prepared as we can be.”

Dorchester are without Drew Eccott-Young (suspension) and Luke Roberts (hamstring).