Dorchester boss relishing Argyle tie
FIRST team coach Kevin Nancekivell will renew a long-time rivalry when Plymouth Argyle visit Dorchester Town in the FA Cup this weekend.
Nancekivell and Dorchester boss Phil Simkin were regularly on opposing sides during their playing days in South West non-league football.
Now they will come up against each other in an ESPN-televised FA Cup first round tie on Sunday.
Nancekivell had two successful spells at Tiverton Town, either side of a short period with Argyle in the 2000/01 season.
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During his early days with Tiverton they used to play Bridport in the Western League and that brought him up against Simkin.
While Nancekivell spent much of his career at Tiverton, Simkin also appeared for Weymouth, as well as Dorchester.
Simkin had a lot of respect for Nancekivell as a player and has heard good reports on his coaching ability.
"I don't know (Argyle manager) Carl Fletcher personally but I have known Kevin Nancekivell for more years than I care to remember," Simkin told Herald Sport.
"I played against him when he was at Tiverton and he was very good at that level. He had a great engine.
"As I understand it, he's now a very good coach. I think he has a lot of input on the training ground."
Simkin was appointed as Dorchester's manager in April after the departure of former long-serving Portsmouth goalkeeper Alan Knight.
He had previously been the caretaker boss for a spell towards the end of 2011 after the departure of Ashley Vickers.
Dorchester finished 11th in the Football Conference South last season and now, in his first full campaign, they are 10th after 12 games.
Exeter City, and their director of football Steve Perryman, have been very supportive of Simkin, and Dorchester.
Striker Tom Nichols was loaned to the Magpies last term and scored nine goals in 12 games.
Two of Exeter's young prospects, midfielder Jake Gosling and striker Jamie Reid, are currently with the Magpies and put in impressive performances.
Gosling has not been allowed to play in the FA Cup for Dorchester, who have already won three home ties in the competition this season.
Reid, however, has had his loan extended by an extra three days so he can play against the Pilgrims.
Dorchester had boasted a 100 per cent home record until they lost 2-1 to Tonbridge Angels in the Conference South last Saturday.
Simkin said: "We haven't got the biggest of squads and Exeter City have helped us out by loaning us a couple of really good young lads.
"Like a lot of clubs at our level, we do rely heavily on loans.
"We are very grateful to Exeter City for that. I have a good relationship with Steve Perryman and long may that continue.
"I'm delighted with the way the season has gone so far and I'm hoping with the money we make from our FA Cup run the club will invest a bit more in our budget."
Like Argyle, Dorchester have experienced financial troubles in recent times but they are now on a much firmer footing.
Both clubs will receive a £63,800 broadcast fee for their first round clash being screened live on ESPN.
"It's a nice boost to get a cash windfall like this," said Simkin. "It has been a rocky road over the last couple of seasons and things haven't been easy.
"This situation we find ourselves in, with the FA Cup prize money and TV cash, is massive for us."
Simkin was thrilled when he found out the game against Argyle would be broadcast to the nation on ESPN.
Dorchester officials are forecasting an attendance of 2,500, in addition to the TV audience.
Simkin said: "It's a West Country derby, I suppose, and it has got all the makings of a good FA Cup tie.
"It has been pretty hectic over the last week with lots of meetings about the game and we have upgraded one or two things safety-wise. There have been issues the club's administration wouldn't normally be involved in but they have coped admirably."
The Avenue Stadium opened in 1990 on the outskirts of Dorset's county town and has good facilities.
Bournemouth and Yeovil Town have both used the ground in the past to play home Football League games.
Simkin said: "The facilities are very good. It's a nice place to play football.
"It does bring out the best in other teams as well. The changing rooms are comfortable. This year, in particular, we have invested in the pitch and the surface is very good."