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Local rivals square up in cup semi-final
A PLACE in the final of the Dorset Premier League Cup awaits either Weymouth Reserves or Portland United on Saturday when the two meet head on at the Bob Lucas Stadium (2pm).
And islanders boss Chris Wilson, who won the tournament with the Terras in 2011, has a selection headache ahead of the semi-final tie.
However, it is not a case of having a squad depleted by injuries, quite the opposite, as a handful of players are close to a return to full fitness.
Jimmy Dailey was back in training this week while Dan Newnham, Chris Reader and Alex Halloran are in contention for a starting place.
The contest has the added spice of a local derby but Wilson insists his team’s approach would be the same whoever the opposition was.
He told Echosport: “There is no doubt Weymouth will be up for the game and I expect them to go hell for leather to try and win it.
“It’s a semi-final and if you put yourself in this position you want to win the competition, no matter who you are playing against.
“They’ve got a lot of players that have played for us and we’ve got a few that tried their hand with Weymouth so we know plenty about them.
“There are always things we can improve on but we’re playing well at the moment and offensively we have a real attacking threat.
“In these games it can be down to experience and we have got plenty of experience in our dressing room.”
Portland won the only league meeting between the teams so far this season way back in August and Weymouth joint-manager Jake Richmond is playing down the Terras’ chances this time around.
“They are near the top of the league and Chris Wilson has done a great job there,” he said.
“Portland have a vast amount of experience and on paper it won’t be a contest.
“If we play like we did at Sherborne we might as well not bother turning up. For us to beat them we are going to have to be at our best and they need to have an off day.
“I’m not saying it’s impossible. We will give it a go and there is no pressure on my players.”
Adam Anstey is back from injury but may only feature on the bench for Richmond while Liam Greatrex is still out with a dislocated knee cap. Other than that, the Terras have a fit squad to pick from.
The winners will face either Holt United or Hamworthy Recreation in the final.
Maurice Welch has his eyes firmly set on a top-four finish and sees his side's league clash at Cranborne (3pm) as an ideal opportunity to strengthen the Chickens’ cause.
Chickerell United currently sit fifth just two points adrift of Hamworthy Recreation with a game in hand.
And with Rec having knocked his men out of the Dorset Premier League Cup last weekend, a slice of revenge is clearly on Welch’s mind.
The United boss said: “If we can win we will go above Hamworthy Rec as they are in cup action, so there is certainly a nice, little fillip there for us.
“We have got four games now against Cranborne, Merley, Blandford and Wareham which are all winnable, so hopefully we go on a bit of a run.
“We know we’re not far away, we just need to learn from last weekend and sharpen up a bit.”
One man who will be missing for the next few weeks is Nick Etherington.
Welch added: “Nick is moving house and will miss the next three games which is a blow, and Tom Peck is unavailable this weekend too.
“Dan Welch is also carrying a bit of a thigh strain, so we will have to see how he is, but Steve Churchill and Steve Lambert should return.
“Dan Austin is also not far away from coming back from injury.”