Wimborne Town manager Steve Cuss has praised Matt Kemble for stepping into the void left by striker Mark Gamble as the Ulsterman continues to recover from injury.
The Magpies have made an impressive start to the season – with Kemble netting in Saturday’s draw with title favourites Merthyr Town – before doubling his tally with a penalty against Larkhall Athletic on Tuesday.
Gamble, who is recovering from ankle ligament damage is unlikely to feature in Saturday’s opening home game against Wantage Town – with Cuss delighted with the response from Kemble.
“Mark could be close to a return, but Saturday is possibly a little too early” explained Cuss.
“I’ve been really pleased with what I’ve seen from Matt. It was tough for him last season as he had to play second fiddle for large parts. But I’ve been really impressed with his work rate.
“If he can keep working really hard and scoring goals, it shows we can keep going with our small squad if players are performing well.”
The Magpies held out for a nervy 2-1 victory over Southern League newcomers Larkhall on Wednesday, thanks to young goalkeeper Luke Horton’s performance.
The 19-year-old saved a penalty and pulled off a string of top stops to secure his side’s first three points of the season.
First team goalkeeper Jason Harvell faces a late fitness test for Saturday’s game after tweaking his groin muscle in training.
“Last season we only really had Jason available to us” added Cuss. “But Luke has been training with Jason and had his chance on Wednesday.
“He looked very confident and the penalty save capped an impressive debut. He will still be featuring for our reserves and youth set-up this season – but it’s still a bit touch and go to see if Jason is ready to come back.”
Adam Costello, who injured his back prior to the season opener at Merthyr is likely to miss out as he continues his recovery.