WEYMOUTH assistant-manager Paul Maitland expects a “footballing battle” rather than a “bloodbath” during the Boxing Day derby with Dorchester Town at the Bob Lucas Stadium (3pm).
With both sides adopting an attractive brand of football, Maitland can only foresee an “entertaining” tussle between the arch-rivals in their Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division encounter.
He told Echosport: “We’ll expect a good game. There’s a lot of young players on show. In bygone eras it was a physical battle, but it will be a footballing battle and a battle of wits.
“I could be wrong and it could be a bloodbath but I envisage the teams playing football and entertaining a large crowd.”
Weymouth have the chance to do the double over their old enemies after securing a 3-0 win at the Avenue Stadium in August, and Maitland believes his team will be “right on it” for the contest.
He said: “Everyone is looking forward to it. We want to play in the big games that mean something. We’ll hope that we have a good crowd and encourage both sets of supporters to make the journey and get behind us.
“We’ll be right on it. We’ll be focusing on ourselves and what we need to do. I do feel for us, it’s an old cliché, but it’s just another game.
“We’ll be looking to approach it in the right manner and to try and get a positive result out of the game to further our own ambitions.”
Commenting on the Terras’ chances of doing the double, Maitland is wary of a retaliation from Dorchester, who he admits are a “different animal” under boss Steve Thompson.
“We were fortunate enough to win at Dorchester earlier in the season. Our first half of the season has been better than Dorchester’s, the points don’t lie.
“They will be looking to put one over on us. I don’t know what their ambitions are, whether they still harbour hopes of making the play-offs or not, but it’s probably the pinnacle of their season now.
“I’m expecting a completely different game from the first game, I don’t think we played as well as we could.
“Dorchester are a very different animal. They’ve clearly made great strides under Steve who deserves a lot of credit for what he’s done with shrewd signings and getting more out of the players already there.
“I’m not expecting it to be anything other than a tight and difficult game for us,” he said.
After the Terras’ match at Dunstable was postponed, Mark Cooper will sit out the last of a three-game suspension against Dorchester, while captain Jake McCarthy is two weeks away from returning after appendicitis surgery.
But Maitland has been impressed with left-back Tiago Sa, who has capably filled the void left by Cooper’s absence.
He said: “Tiago has come in and done very well. He had a very good game against Banbury. They tried to pick on him and he dealt with them very well. He grew as the game went on.
“Obviously Coops is a good player as well. It’s fortunate that we have got two left-backs that are two good players.”
Weymouth have one fresh injury concern from Saturday’s 5-0 win over Redditch United in Ben Thomson, who limped off at the end of the game.