BOSS Jason Matthews confirmed “pivotal” playmaker Chris Shephard will be back in the Weymouth squad for this afternoon’s home FA Trophy Tie with Wantage Town (3pm).

The Terras’ star, a key part of the side’s creativity in the final third, had been sidelined for four weeks since picking up the injury at the start of this month.

Shephard revealed to Echosport earlier this week that he was targeting the Trophy test for his comeback and, after coming through a training session unscathed on Thursday night, is set to get his wish.

Giving an update on his key man’s progress, Matthews told Echosport: “He trained on Thursday and is all okay.

“Obviously Sheps is a little bit pivotal to our season. If he stays fit he tends to make us tick.

“He is a good lad to have around the dressing room, we look forward to having him back and hopefully he can play a part in the game.

“He needs a little bit of match sharpness but he has only been out for around four weeks. I won’t be forcing him to do too much as I don’t want his hamstring going again.”

While Shephard is set to come back in, a number of Weymouth squad members will miss out this afternoon.

On the injury front, striker Ben Thomson is still nursing his hamstring and winger Aaron Rodriguez remains suffering from a back issue. Sam Jordan is rated 50-50 with a groin problem and goalkeeper Dan Thomas will remain out for “two to three weeks” according to Matthews, who will continue to feature in goal after returning to the side in Tuesday’s fogged off game against Hayes & Yeading.

The Terras’ boss added: “I will play. I was going to play myself, or whoever wasn’t playing, in the Trophy anyway.

“I really enjoyed it the other night, I know it was only a 15-minute spell but it was good to be back in and I still definitely feel I can do a job when called on.”

As well as injury issues, both of Weymouth’s current loanees in Stuart Fleetwood and Bradley Tarbuck have not been allowed to feature in the Trophy by their parent clubs.

Dorset Echo

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