Eastbourne Borough talisman 'bursting to get back into action' at Weymouth
“It’s like gaining a new player. He is bursting to get back into action.”
Manager Danny Bloor takes his Eastbourne Borough side to Weymouth tomorrow (Saturday) with talisman Dean Cox restored to midfield.
Cox has served out a three-game National League South suspension after a red card against St Albans, and the Sports’ most experienced professional cannot wait.
Bloor said: "“Even from the stands, Dean has been calling every pass and kicking every ball. In training this week he’s been electric – he took some amazing shooting drills on Tuesday night – and all the players look to him.
“After Sergio Torres, Dean is my senior player. His movement and his football brain are exceptional. Against Crawley in the Senior Cup (for which Cox was not suspended), he ran the show and he will be eager to get back to business at Weymouth.”
Freshly promoted from the Southern League, the Terras have taken National League South by storm – and somewhat by surprise – this season, and since August they have never been out of the play-off places.
Visiting Priory Lane in October, Weymouth looked a compact, organised side playing good football, and they grabbed a point with a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw.
Manager Mark Molesley has assembled a competitive squad, significantly bolstered by a stream of loan signings, including a number from AFC Bournemouth – Molesley’s former club - and from the likes of Portsmouth.
Former Sports favourite Yemi Odubade has featured regularly among their scorers.
It’s a long haul to Dorset for most opponents – reflected perhaps in Weymouth’s impressive home record, with ten victories in fourteen National League South games.
But Bloor is undaunted by that statistic.
He added: “It doesn’t mean a lot – St Albans City went down there at Christmas, and beat them. We have proved ourselves very hard to beat in recent weeks, and Saturday will be no different.”
Weymouth must pick themselves up from a demanding trip along the south coast to Havant on Wednesday, losing a tough toe-to-toe 3-2.
Not quite El Jurassico – the label applied with a dash of Dorset humour to the frenzied derbies between Weymouth and near neighbours Dorchester Town – but a combative game on Havant’s notoriously heavy pitch, which may have left the Terras nursing tired limbs.
Bloor has had his own fitness headaches recently. In defence, Kiran Khinda-John is ruled out, and Tobi Adebayo-Rowling – substituted against Hemel Hempstead – is a doubt.
Fortunately, the manager can call once again on hugely impressive QPR loanee Franklin Domi, while the central pairing of Ian Gayle and Steven James looked absolutely immaculate last weekend.
First-choice keeper Tom Hadler has finally shaken off the knee infection which sidelined him for six weeks, and might be in contention for the Weymouth trip.
Further forward, Mike West’s damaged leg is progressing more quickly than expected from his awful encounter with a metal fence at Chelmsford, but is not yet ready for selection.
Lively striker Stephane Bombelenga tweaked a muscle in training on Tuesday and will face a late check.
But top scorers Charlie Walker and Greg Luer have looked insatiable in recent games, and in the young and combative Ade Gbolohan, Bloor has a striker-in-waiting who might just prove to be the new Odubade!
And finally, the weather forecast: Storm Ciara is predicted to hit the Jurassic Coast on Saturday evening.
If Bloor’s new Borough recapture their recent blustering form, Weymouth might already have been blown away by Saturday afternoon...