STALWART lan Hutchinson insists Weymouth can win promotion to mark his tenth anniversary with the Terras in style.
The midfielder, who continues his testimonial celebrations this week, reckons his side are running into form at the ideal time – Weymouth are currently just three points off the Conference South play-off zone.
And Hutchinson reckons his team-mates can overturn that deficit when they face fellow promotion hopefuls Thurrock and Basingstoke in the next fortnight.
The popular 32-year-old told Echosport: “We’re on a good little run at the moment, being undefeated in the last three games and just three points off the play-offs.
“We’re hitting form at just the right time because it’s often the teams who do well from January onwards that end up winning promotion.
“I definitely think we can still go up, probably not automatically because Grays look odds-on to win the title now but certainly through the play-offs.
“The recent wins have given us that extra bit of confidence and the team spirit is excellent at the moment.
“We’re starting to look dangerous which is a good sign, with the new lads settling in, especially as we’ve got two big games around the corner.
“Thurrock at home this Saturday is a massive match because they are in the play-offs at the moment, then we travel to Basingstoke the week after.
“Two wins in those games will put us in pole position and I certainly think we’re capable of doing that.”
Hutchinson, who joined Weymouth from Halifax Town in 1994, is preparing for a gala dinner this Thursday marking his decade with the Terras.
Former Leicester City and England legend Frank Worthington is guest speaker for the midfielder’s big night at the resort-based Hotel Prince Regent.
Hutchinson said: “I’m really looking forward to Thursday night because it’s shaping up to be a special night for me and something I really appreciate.
“I’ve had some great times over the last ten years, such as winning the Southern League championship in 1997.
“It’s been an eventful few years though, I worked out the other day I’ve played under 12 managers in that time which is some record. Mind you, at my age I’m not sure I’ll play under another 12.”
The north-easterner, who works as a porter at Dorset County Hospital, never expected to clock up nearly 500 appearances for the Terras after making the journey south in 1994.
“I remember the day I signed I was sat on a wall by the harbour with the then manager Graham Carr, Matthew McGowan and Terry Nutnam.
“They said to me that once I moved to the town, I wouldn’t want to leave.
“I thought they were talking rubbish and told them I’d probably be off back up the north after two months.
“Now here we are, ten years on and I’m still here and very happy about it.
“It’s a great town, I’ve got a smashing son Harry and I’m enjoying my football.
What more would I want?”
And Hutchinson, who nearly joined rivals Dorchester Town last season, revealed how celebrating ten years with Weymouth has inspired a few changes – such as chopping his trademark curly hair.
“Over the years I’ve taken plenty of light-hearted stick for my hair, so I finally saw sense and decided it had to go.
“The players have always claimed I’ve been stuck in the 1980s and apparently I was once described as having poodle hair on national radio.
“But now it’s gone and the boys will have to find something else to take the mick out of instead,” he joked.