BRIDPORT boss Adam Fricker believes the Bees are in “good shape” going into the latter half of the season ahead of their testing trip to Shepton Mallet on Saturday (3pm).

Fricker’s men embark on their first Toolstation Western League Premier Division game of 2019 looking to close on the Mallet who occupy eighth, some six points and three places above Bridport having played three matches more.

Bridport warmed up for the clash at Shepton with a spirited 1-0 defeat to high-flying Westbury United but Fricker is satisfied with the west Dorset side’s start to the campaign.

He told the Bridport News: “I think we’re in good shape looking at where we’re at. I was looking, over the Christmas period, at the points and what we finished up on last season.

“We’re happy to be in the position we are. You’re looking at a couple of games, you always do, where you possibly could have picked up a few more points and been higher.

“But we’re comfortable and in good shape to kick on into the new year.”

Having contested a number of tight games with Mallet over the past season and a half, Fricker expects a “tough test” at the Somerset outfit.

Fricker, who last campaign saw the Bees win 2-1 at home and lose 3-2 away, said: “We always have some good games against them, they’re always quite close and even.

“We’ll go up there knowing that we’re going to be in for a tough test, but the facilities are good and the pitch is always decent to be able to play good football as well.

“They finished sixth last season so I know the qualities they’ve got.

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“I think the biggest thing is that they’ve been quite consistent with the team and then they’ve just added two or three players to it, which is something that we’ve looked to try and do.

“Obviously with losing a few in the summer and Oscar (Latas) to Street as well it’s not something we’ve been able to do as well as they have.

“I think that makes a massive difference. You only have to look at the likes of Willand and Buckland – teams that have been together a while tend to do quite well.”

Leighton Thomas (hamstring), Kameron Andrews (nose), Luke King (suspension) plus Richard Hebditch and Louis Rutter (both knee) are all absent.

However, Bridport welcome back Sam Clark and Dan Peach as they chase a third win in five games.