Simpemba boost for Hawks

Bradley Dack opened the scoring for Blackburn Rovers in the 38th minute Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey suffer heavy defeat at Blackburn

Skipper Ian Simpemba returns to action as the Hawks end 2010 against Dorchester Town at West Leigh Park today (3pm).

The centre-back has missed the past two games through suspension and has seen his side suffer two defeats and concede six goals in his absence.

Manager Shaun Gale is delighted to have his influential captain available again.

'Having Ian Simpemba back is a big plus for us,' said Gale.

'We have missed his experience and organisational skills at the back.

'It is important that we stop giving away the silly goals we have conceded in recent games.

'We have to get back to being defensively sound and become a hard team to beat again.'

It was always going to be tough at Woking, with key players missing due to suspension and injury.

Gale, however, felt his side deserved at least a share of the spoils.

But he is coming up against sides with bigger squads and is finding it harder to cope with injuries and suspensions.

The lack of depth could prove a major stumbling block to the Hawks' promotion hopes as they get set to play 10 games in 31 days next month.

Gale, however, is hoping a win over Dorchester can lift his troops for the battle ahead.

'This is a big game for us and we need three points,' he said.

'My players were disappointed by the defeat at Woking and, hopefully, will take their frustrations out on Dorchester.

'We beat them 4-0 at our place in the FA Cup earlier but that counts for nothing.

'They have improved since then, bringing in some new players and changing the way they play.

'It will be a tough game because they will be intent on exacting revenge.

'We have to be prepared to work hard against physical and well-organised opponents.'

Full-back Jon McDonald is also back in the reckoning after serving a one-match ban but Ian Selley (calf) and Jake Newton (knee) are expected absentees.

Striker Mustafa Tiryaki is another doubt because of hip and sciatic nerve problems.

Experienced midfielder Sammy Igoe was on the substitutes' bench at Woking but may come into contention for a start.

Hawks: Howe, Cashman, Pearce, Simpemba, Hinshelwood, Woodford, Hopkinson, Ramsey, Fogden, Igoe, Williams, Sole, Tiryaki, Sewell, Baldacchino, Ashmore,