TERRAS’ boss Jason Matthews has urged his players to keep their focus when Basingstoke Town visit the Bob Lucas Stadium tonight (7.45pm).
It is a busy week for Weymouth as they get set to take on Kidderminster Harriers away from home in the fourth qualifying round of this season’s FA Cup on Saturday, with £12,500 in prize money at stake.
But Matthews insists while the FA Cup run is an exciting distraction, his players’ immediate attention should be on full-time Basingstoke, who were the favourites with bookmakers to lift the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division title at the start of the season.
He told Echosport: “With all due respect, we won’t win the FA Cup! We need to be in touching distance in the league when we go out of the cup. I hope that’s not on Saturday but the league is our bread and butter and we need to do well in it this year.
“I don’t think anyone can take their eye off the ball because they are not guaranteed their place in the team – that’s the position we are in at the moment.”
Commenting on Basingstoke, he added: “They are obviously the full-time side in the league and sometimes it takes a while to settle when you do make that transition. I remember at Weymouth, when we went full time, it did take a while for it all to click.
“I will be expecting a tough game and they have a experienced manager in Terry Brown.”
Asked what he made of sides being full-time at Southern League level, Matthews replied: “Obviously it’s based on a club’s finances. Weymouth, as a club, would not be able to do it at this moment in time. But Basingstoke have gone with a lot of younger lads.
“I expect a tough game and it’s up to us to be on our mettle.”
On the injury front, Chris Shephard is set to go for a scan on his hamstring this week, Aaron Rodriguez came through Saturday’s game well after a back problem.
Matthews is also hoping that Dan Smith’s calf problem is cleared up. Jake Wannell is also now a doubt with a hamstring problem.