WIMBORNE Town boss Matty Holmes insisted son Luke would need to build up his fitness after fighting off a serious bout of glandular fever.

The Magpies manager revealed the midfielder had been hospitalised by the virus but was due to train with the squad ahead of Saturday’s trip to Basingstoke Town (3pm).

He played just twice this season before being struck down by the illness.

Giving an update on his son’s condition, the Cuthbury boss told the Daily Echo: “Luke should be back on the bench, which is good news for us and will give the lads a good boost.

“He hadn’t been well. I think he realised it was a serious one. When you are in hospital on a drip and things, it’s not good.

“He realised he had to take his time to build himself up. He has lost a lot of weight and it’s about giving him little bits of game time now just to settle him back into the team.

“We will just nurture him for the next few weeks.”

Midfielder Holmes featured 41 times for Magpies last season, scoring five goals and providing 19 assists.

“We have missed him,” added the Wimborne boss.

“He plays in that number-10 role so well or can drop into midfield to make things happen for us.

“I think at this level you need creative players in your team. That’s why he created a lot of interest from Salisbury and Weymouth were also interested in him.

“He is a big character in the dressing room and it will be good to get him back involved.

“He is just as passionate as me about the football club. He was here on loan with Steve Cuss as a kid from Bournemouth.

“Steve gave him that opportunity at Wimborne and he loved it. He went away to Poole and Dorchester but he felt he wanted to go back to Wimborne.”

With just one league victory this season, Holmes’s charges have shipped 15 goals from their opening five contests.

They face a Basingstoke outfit who are fifth in Southern League South with 11 points from six games.

The manager added: “The players are being very highly challenged.

“They have a chance again on Saturday and I need a reaction, I need a performance to show they can improve in spells when other teams are on top.

“The challenge on Saturday is to go to Basingstoke, graft for the club, for each other and hopefully that little bit of quality will see us through.

“I want these lads to do well but, at some stage, I have to be seeing improvement. They have to work and listen to what we are trying to do.

“Sooner or later, if things don’t change then I have to look as a manager to try to change it.”

Star striker Toby Holmes is once again unavailable for the visitors. Full-back Lewis Tallack could once again miss out through work commitments.

Magpies: (from) Benfield, Lee, Maybury, Davidson, Arnold, Kellaway, Francis, Stokoe, Penny, Owen, L Holmes, Young, Shepherd, Burbidge, Lovell, Okumu, Walsh.