Bath City get fitness boost ahead of busy Christmas period
Bath City boss Lee Howells will have virtually a full squad to choose from when his team kick off their hectic festive fixtures with a trip to the South Coast this weekend.
Long-term absentee Sekani Simpson was one of several first-team players to come through a match against Bristol City under-21s unscathed on Monday.
He goes straight into the reckoning for Saturday's Blue Square Bet South game at Havant & Waterlooville, starting a two-week period which also includes home and away matches against Weston- super-Mare.
The first part of the double header takes place at Mayday Trust Park on Boxing Day (3pm) and could see the return of winger Josh Low, who is the only likely absentee this weekend.
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"Havant is probably a bit too soon for Josh but everyone else is available and we'll have virtually a full squad to choose from for the first time this season," said Howells, whose side are looking to end a three-game winless run.
"Josh has a hamstring problem and has to do a lot of driving and sitting around in his job, which doesn't help. We'll have another practice match in training tonight and give him an hour to see how he gets on.
"Sekani comes straight back into contention. He got through Monday's game without a problem and is naturally fit, so I have no worries about him."
Full-back Simpson has been out of first-team action since limping off during a 3-2 defeat at Salisbury City on September 1 with a medial knee ligament tear.
Midfielders Marc Canham and Joe Burnell have also struggled for full fitness in recent weeks but were able to play for the development squad against Bristol City.
Their availability is a big boost ahead of a run of five games in two weeks, with Howells confident his side will be in a strong league position at the end of it.
"The nice thing is that we go to Havant on Saturday, where there is always a nice pitch, and then we have two games at home," he said.
"We haven't played there for a while, so the surface should be good. We've got a great record historically at Weston as well so hopefully we can put together a few good results."
Exeter City loanee Tom Nichols' stint at Mayday Trust Park expires after the Havant match but Howells confirmed that talks were ongoing to extend his stay.
However, he added: "We'd like to keep him on but whether we can afford to or whether Exeter want him back, we'll have to wait and see."