DORCHESTER Town boss Steve Thompson expects a “totally different challenge” when Tiverton Town visit the Avenue Stadium for their first Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division clash of 2018 today (3pm).

Tivvy are the second top-five team that Dorchester will face in a week, having already drawn 2-2 with third-placed arch-rivals Weymouth on Boxing Day.

But Thompson feels that is where the similarities between the two end, and anticipates that Tiverton will play a different brand of football to Weymouth’s passing philosophy.

He told Echosport: “Tiverton are a very different opponent, if I may say so. Weymouth play a certain way, Tiverton play a certain way.

“They’re very different in the way they approach the game. It’s a totally different challenge in many ways.”

Thompson also admitted that the six-day break between games was a “good rest period” in order to prepare for Tiverton.

He said: “I think if the game was the day after, or maybe even the day after that it might be (difficult).

“But we’ve got no excuses. We’ve (had) a good period of time, six days, it’s a good rest period.

“We had an important training session. It’s a very different game to Weymouth and training is very important because we are up against a very different type of opponent.”

Thompson also believes his side have proven they can compete with the league’s higher-placed teams, feeling the Magpies have only “been out of the game” against Hitchin since he took over.

“I look at all the games we’ve played since I came in September and I think it was only the Hitchin game where we’ve been out of the game.

“Even then the last half-an-hour we dominated because they were down to 10 men. But it was only the Hitchin game where you thought at half-time: ‘it was damage limitation’. We’ve been in every game,” he said.

Dorchester could welcome back Ross Carmichael after the centre-back missed the Weymouth derby through unavailability, but there is a question mark over Luke Winsper, who was substituted against the Terras having sustained a knock.

Sam Lanahan is also a minor doubt with illness. On Lanahan, Thompson felt the midfielder was a “good asset” to have in his squad having already scored six goals this season.

He said: “Midfielders who score goals are not the easiest to find nowadays. I think the way a lot of academies go now, midfielders tend to want to be spraying the ball about quite far from goal.

“But Sam will try and get into the box and keeps trying to get himself chances and that’s a good asset to have in your squad and in your team.”