BRIDPORT boss Adam Fricker expects a strong challenge from Buckland Athletic when the Devon side visit St Mary’s Field in Toolstation Western League Premier Division action on Saturday (3pm).

Fricker feels the Bucks’ placing of 10th, one ahead of the Bees, is a false position and anticipates a tricky clash with Athletic, who have strengthened significantly in recent months.

The two sides have already faced off this season, with Buckland taking a 2-1 win at home in August despite Bridport dominating for large spells.

Speaking to the Bridport News, the Bridport manager was full of respect for Saturday’s opponents, who appointed new boss Richard Pears following the sacking of ex-Terra Craig Duff.

He said: “We were a bit unlucky down there and probably deserved a bit more. We’re under no illusions it’s going to be a tough game.

“Likewise, they’ll probably be saying the same about us. We’ll be expecting a tough challenge, they’re a very organised side.

“They’ve had a new manager come in over the last couple of months, so I don’t know if he’s changed the way they play or set up. He probably won’t know too much about us either.

“I don’t think they’ll stay (mid-table). They had a poor start to the season which did surprise me and I think surprised a lot of people.

“They are a good side, they’ve got some excellent players and they strengthened in the summer. Sometimes things just don’t click, they’ve made the change and it looks like

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results have picked up off the back of that.

“Buckland are a top six, top four side and I’d expect them to be up there at the end of the season.”

Bridport’s meeting at Bitton on Tuesday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, but the Bees are currently on a run of two consecutive wins.

Fricker said: “Saturday was frustrating because I think we could have played a lot better than what we did.

“But we went away from home, got three points and a clean sheet, so you can’t say too much more than that.

“From a form guide point of view we’re top eight, which is where we’d expect to be with the squad that we’ve got.

“We’re looking forward to it. It’ll be nice to play at home because the pitch is looking decent at the moment.”

Oscar Latas continues to mull over his future at Street, while captain Louis Rutter is set for another scan on his problematic knee injury.

Fricker said: “It’s going to be a couple of weeks before we know the severity of it, but it could possibly be another long-term injury which is a shame and a massive blow for us.”

Richard Hebditch (knee) and James Regan (groin) remain out.