BOSS Tom Killick is tonight hoping to pilot Poole Town over a tricky first hurdle before they lock horns with several of the frontrunners in the race for honours in the Southern League.

The high-flying Dolphins visit Division One South & West strugglers Bishops Cleeve, whose quaint Kayte Lane headquarters are situated next to Cheltenham Racecourse (7.30pm).

Poole face the Villagers – who are yet to register a home league win this season – ahead of a key series of fixtures which will see them meet five of their promotion rivals.

A trip to second-placed Tiverton on December 1 is sandwiched between home clashes against Merthyr, Cinderford, Swindon Supermarine and Cirencester.

“It is going to be a big period for us,” said Killick. “When you have a clutch of games against the better teams, it makes a huge difference if most of your influential players are fit and available.

“We do have a couple of availability issues for the Bishops Cleeve game but are hoping to be quite strong by the time we play Merthyr on Saturday.

“It is going to take us the best part of three hours to get there and is an awkward one for a Wednesday night. If we could get a positive result, it would stand us in good stead for a tough upcoming schedule.

“If we could keep a strong squad through the run of games then I would be quietly confident that we could do quite well.”

Keith Emmerson is again unavailable for the Dolphins due to Army commitments, while Glenn Howes could also struggle to make the trip due to work commitments.

Dolphins: (from) Hutchings, Clarke, Spetch, Walker, Dibba, Howes, Kelly, Devlin, Byerley, Preston, Burbidge, Baines, Brooks, Wilson, Collier, Wright, Richardson, Lamalli, Brown.