BALTI Sports’ boss Marco Nott is “slightly nervous” at the prospect of visiting in-form Merley Cobham Sports tomorrow (3pm).

Merley have so far won all five Dorset Premier League games, beating league favourites Hamworthy Rec 4-3 away en route to topping the table.

Balti’s task was made less palatable after a selection crisis in midweek, with only nine squad members initially available.

And Nott is not kidding himself as to the magnitude of the task in hand.

“It’s probably, at the moment, the hardest fixture – they’ve won every game,” he said.

“Any season it’s a hard game but they look pretty consistent this year and are scoring a lot of goals.

“I’m slightly nervous about (tomorrow) to be honest!

“But we’ll go there and give as good as we’ve got.

“We have had a couple of good hidings at their place, that’s not the first time we’ve been walloped by them.

“They do seem a different animal at their place.”

Ryan Dovell (broken foot), Charlie Kenderdine (knee) and Che Curran (groin) are out, while Danny Andrews and Ricky Lane are unavailable.

Ethan Devaney, Sanchez Baker and Phil Anderson all have work commitments.

Scott Walker and Sean Zima are doubtful, but key midfielder Sammy Nichols returns after a lengthy ban.

Meanwhile, Dorchester Sports will play their first home game since Saturday, September 5 with Sturminster Newton United visiting the Avenue Stadium.

Three losses in three games mean boss Ashley James will not take the Cherries lightly.

He said: “The results haven’t gone our way, so we won’t be underestimating Sturminster.

“We’re not in the form to be underestimating anyone. We have to go in with 100 per cent focus and work harder than Sturminster to get a result.”

On a return to the Avenue, James said: “We haven’t played there for seven weeks, so it’s probably no advantage for us whatsoever.

“The fixture list has been cruel to say the least with how many away games we’ve had.

“It will be a game where we can try and get a positive result, we’ll have to be at our very best.”

Jamie Sibley and Shaun Bessant return for Sports, releasing Jamie Symes up top.

Elsewhere, Blandford United welcome Bridport Reserves to Park Road.

“You can never rest on your laurels when you play reserve sides,” Royals’ manager Jamie Haylock said.

“One year you can beat them 5-0 but easily lose two or 3-0 the following year.

“We’ll try and put teams to bed, that’s been an issue this year. We’ll try and do that again and not give teams a chance to be in the game still.”

Defenders Ash Rimmer and Paul Ford are out, but striker Sam Watson is contending for his first start.


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