POOLE Town’s team selection for tomorrow's defence of the Dorset Senior Cup remains a mystery – even to the man charged with picking a winning XI.
Manager Tom Killick admitted Dolphins’ dip in form mixed with a draining fixture backlog has given him the mother of all headaches ahead of the county showpiece against Hamworthy United at Cuthbury (7.45pm).
Back-to-back league league defeats against Stourbridge and AFC Totton over the past four days have caused the Tatnam boss to call into question his intent to field a youthful team to face the Hammers.
Revealing his quandary, Killick told the Daily Echo: “The team I had in mind was based largely on youth but the recent results have made me think again and I have not yet made up my mind.
“A cup final is a cup final, confidence is a bit low and a win would really stand us in good stead. It is a bit of a dilemma, though, because I also have some very tired players.
“It is a tough ask for them to go again and again. Our game is based on intensity and there are a lot of lads who have not just played every game but 90 minutes in many of them.
“I thought I would try to rest as many players as possible but the confidence perspective could alter that. It is fairly unheard of for us to lose two on the spin and the prospect of losing a three is not something I want to contemplate.”
Shuffling the pack is not an option open to opposite number Graham Kemp, who has no fewer than four players cup-tied.
Goalkeeper Dan Ackerman, defender Shaun Brian and midfield duo Micky Hubbard and John Webb all miss out having played for former clubs this season.
But having already seen off both Dorchester Town and Weymouth without the influential quartet, Kemp was adamant his changed team would go all out for glory against the wobbling cup holders.
“Being without players when you face a team of Poole’s calibre is not ideal, but these players got us here and deserve their chance,” said Kemp.
“Regardless of current form, Poole are two divisions above us but it will be interesting to see how they react if we can take the game to them and get our noses in front.
“Tommy knows how I will approach the game, it’s not in my make-up to sit back. I don’t see the logic in inviting a good team onto you and I would rather go down all guns blazing than lose 1-0 with a whimper.
“It is nice to have no pressure on it and the main thing is we give a good account of ourselves.”
- In the Southern League Premier Division, Bashley entertain Cambridge City, while Verwood Town travel to Moneyfields in the Wessex Premier (both 7.45pm).