MANAGER Tom Killick felt Poole Town had been handed a tricky start to their promotion quest following today’s release of the Southern League fixtures.

Dolphins kick off their Premier Division season at Banbury United on Saturday, August 9 before travelling to Hungerford Town three days later.

Banbury finished 19th last term but boss Killick was adamant that prising three points from the Puritans would prove no easy task.

He told the Daily Echo: “At this level of football it’s very difficult to judge teams on what they did the previous season because things can change significantly.

“I don’t know what sort of shape Banbury will be in come August 9, all I know is it’s an away game to start us off which is always difficult.

“Hungerford were very strong last year and they have made some good signings in the summer. They are widely expected to be one of the good sides.

“I would say it’s quite a difficult start for us with an away game followed by one of the favourites for the top six.”

Although pleased that Dorset rivals Dorchester Town had dropped into the division, Killick was slightly downhearted that the Magpies’ inclusion meant the loss of two bank holiday fixtures.

He continued: “It’s great to have Dorchester in the league and that’s another derby but the disappointment is that they take the Boxing Day fixture and the August bank holiday fixture against Weymouth.

“We’ve lost Bashley and Totton from the league so we’re left with Frome on those dates.They aren’t heavily-supported or particularly local, so that’s a bit of a loss to us, but we do get Dorchester at home on New Year’s Day, which is good.”

Meanwhile, AFC Totton forward Luke Roberts is expected to feature for Dolphins in their home friendly against Gosport Borough tomorrow (3pm).

Roberts scored in the 3-1 defeat at Hamworthy United on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, midfielder Micky Hubbard, on trial with Poole, played 90 minutes in Hamworthy United’s 6-1 victory at Swanage Town & Herston on Wednesday.

The Southern South & West fixtures also came out with relegated Bashley and Wimborne Town opening up at Bridgwater Town and Merthyr Town respectively.

Wimborne travel to Bash on the August bank holiday, with the return fixture at Cuthbury on Boxing Day.