Basingstoke return to do battle at Boro’

Frankie Raymond
Frankie Raymond
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Tommy Widdrington believes there is little between his Eastbourne Borough side and third-place Basingstoke Town as the two teams prepare to meet at Priory Lane tomorrow (Saturday).

The way the fixtures have fallen mean it is just a week since this sides met for the first time in the Vanarama South this season and, although, Borough were beaten 1-0 at the Soccer AM stadium last weekend, the Borough boss is hopeful of a turn of fortunes on home soil.

With that game still fresh in the mind, both teams have had a chance to size each other up but Widdrington doesn’t think that will give either side an advantage.

“I’m sure we would have both watched each other earlier in the season anyway,” he said.

“Both sides were very respectable last week and I thought it was two good teams and the fact that the game was won by the odd goal showed that I think.

“In all honesty it didn’t really feel like a game that we lost. I can’t argue with the fact that they beat us but we were right in the game until the end.

“If it had ended 2-2 or 3-3 that might have been a fairer result.”

Basingstoke climbed to third after that win, while Borough have slipped to 13th and are now nine points off the play-off spots.

They are the same number of points above the league’s relegation places, although victory tomorrow could see them as high as ninth depending on results elsewhere.

Josh Hare, who has been on loan from Gillingham but was called back to his parent club earlier this week, will miss the game after playing last week.

Widdrington will also have to contend without long-term casualty Adam Watts.

Watts is nearing fitness, however, and could be back as early as next month, while midfielder Dean Sinclair took a heavy knock at Basingstoke and is a doubt for tomorrow’s game.

Widdrington admits that his squad is looking a bit thin but says it is par for the course at this time of year because of the hectic schedule.

Tomorrow’s match will be their fifth in just 15 days and the boss revealed that he is hoping to bring in some reinforcements to help with numbers in a squad that currently has just 14 senior players who are fully fit.

“I’ve spoken to a few players this week as well as a few clubs,” Widdrington added.

“But whether we are winning, losing or drawing, I’m always looking at players, it’s part of my job as a manager.

“At the moment it’s more that we need some bodies in to help fill out the squad. Some of the academy lads that we’ve got have done well and they are good enough to sit on the bench.

“But you can’t expect a 17-year-old to come straight into the first team.

“We are going through a tough period on the pitch at the moment but we will all work hard to get through it.”

Borough have taken just five points from the last 21 on offer in the Vanarama South.

Widdrinton doesn’t believe that truly reflects performances on the pitch but was slightly concerned that some individual errors had cost his side points in recent weeks.

They were five minutes away from all three points at home to Whitehawk on new year’s day before a late equaliser, while they dominated Maidenhead United for large periods without being able to kill the game off.

Their 4-1 win over league leaders Boreham Wood at the start of the festive period proves that they can beat anyone on their day and Widdrington will be looking for a return to that kind of form tomorrow.

Basingstoke, meanwhile, have won all of their last four fixtures and have lost just once in their last nine games in all competitions.

Borough have a winnable tie at struggling Weston-Super-Mare the following week.

Eastbourne Borough v Basingstoke Town kick s off at 3pm, Priory Lane.