Is the stage finally set for Baptista at Basingstoke?

Miguel Baptista
Miguel Baptista

Portuguese playmaker Miguel Baptista could get his chance to shine for Eastbourne Borough this weekend at Basingstoke.

Central midfielder Nathan Collier is an injury doubt for tomorrow’s National League South clash and Baptista may well get the green light from manager Tommy Widdrington. Much was expected from Baptista this season but as yet he has been used sparingly. Widdrington has favoured the Jack Evans and Collier combination in the midfield engine room, a system that allows Kane Haysmen and Gavin McCallum licence to attack from the flanks.

But with Collier injured and Ryan Worrall easing his way back from a groin problem, Baptista’s skills could be just what’s required to unlock the Basingstoke defence.

Widdrington said, “Baptista has been a touch unlucky. He was in at the start then I changed it around a bit and we won three or four on the bounce. He has had to be patient, his chance may come against Basingstoke but we will have to wait and see. He certainly comes into the thinking. I think the time he has spent on the bench will have done him some good. He will have seen more about what’s required in this league.”

Borough’s 0-0 stalemate against Truro last week at Priory Lane leaves them ninth in the league table on 13 points from their first eight matches.

Basingstoke have struggled so far this campaign. They are third from bottom and have yet to record a victory either home or away.

Widdrington added, “Make no mistake they have players who can hurt you. Sometimes good teams start the season badly and I think they fall into that category.”

Kiran Khinda-John is expected to feature in the squad as he continues his recovery from an injury sustained at Weston. He also took a nasty blow in training this week as striker Elliott Romain walloped a ball straight into his face from point-blank range.

Widdrington added, “It took him off his feet but he should be fine for Saturday - it was a good strike from Elliott to be fair.”