TAUNTON Town boss Rob Dray believes three points this weekend are “imperative”, as the Peacocks aim to stay ahead of the chasing pack in Premier Division South.

Taunton saw last Saturday’s home match with Swindon Supermarine postponed due to the snow, circumstances which left head of football Dray with mixed feelings.

He told the County Gazette: “I would’ve taken either [the game being on or off].

“It’s allowed Sully [Dan Sullivan] and some of the other lads to recover from knocks.

“But with things around the Salisbury game [which Taunton lost 3-2 last Tuesday] not going our way, it would have been good to get straight back out there.”

This Saturday sees the Peacocks head to Surrey to take on Walton Casuals (ko 3pm), a team beaten 4-0 at the Viridor Stadium in November.

Dray said: “Matt [Villis] and I went to Poole to watch them on Tuesday night, as teams can change so much in a couple of months.

“I was impressed with both teams.

“It will be tough up there on their 3G surface, as that’s always a game-changer and levels things up.

“They have good quality in their team, and players who can hurt you.”

The Peacocks will be missing defenders Ben Adelsbury and Keith Emmerson, both suspended after their red cards at Salisbury, but with title rivals Metropolitan Police and Weymouth facing each other on Saturday, Dray says a win for his side is essential.

“It’s a huge game for us, and it’s imperative that we get the three points.

“There’s some interesting fixtures in the next few weeks, with Met Police playing both Weymouth and Salisbury, and some tricky midweek games.

“It [the title race] can change week to week, as you just can’t call some of the results.”

As for midfielder Matt Buse and striker Matt Wright, there are no new updates regarding contract extensions.

“We’re still talking to them,” said Dray.

“There’s been no real progress, but we’re in no rush and we don’t want to put pressure on them.

“Both players want to be at this club.”

Opposition in focus

‘The Stags’ are currently in 16th place, just four points clear of the relegation zone, after Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to play-off contenders Poole Town.

Their last eight league games have yielded just one win, a 4-1 success over basement club Staines Town (who have a mere nine points from 28 games).

Still, this is a season of consolidation for Walton, given they finished sixth in the Isthmian League South Division last season – squeezing into the play-offs on goal difference, then beating Cray Wanderers and Corinthian Casuals to earn promotion.

Manager Anthony Gale has the Stags punching above their weight, as this is their first season in the seventh tier of English football and their best FA Cup performance is reaching the third qualifying round.

Gale (son of ex-Fulham, West Ham and Blackburn player Tony Gale, now chairman of Walton) has experience working with Chelsea Ladies and Millwall, and he is now into his fourth season in the current post.

He will almost certainly instruct his players to mark Taunton captain Matt Wright at corners this time around, righting the wrong which led to them falling behind at the Viridor Stadium in November.

The Peacocks went on to win 4-0, with Pierce Mitchell, Craig Veal and Dan Sullivan rounding off a comfortable win to take their side top of the table.

Elsewhere this weekend

WELLINGTON hope to resume Toolstation Western League Premier action on Saturday, as they go to Roman Glass St George (ko 3pm).

Although looking free of relegation worries, manager Clive Jones will be keen to have his side established in a mid-table position.

The Tangerines won the reverse fixture 2-1 just three weeks ago, Tom Hawkings and Lewis Tasker scoring.

Jones said: “The week off has given us time to reflect – there’s 13 games to go, so we’ve set new targets to push on to the end of the season.

“If Conor [Bryant, who suffered an eye injury in the reverse fixture] is fit, he’ll start, as he’s been our main man up front this season.”

After the Roman Glass match, Wellington will host Plymouth Parkway on Wednesday, the match having been snowed off last weekend (ko 7.45pm).

In the First Division, Bishops Lydeard still need points to feel safe from the drop.

They are also on the road, away at Corsham Town, who are on the promotion fringes (ko 3pm).

Lydeard can, nonetheless, take heart from their last match, a 1-1 draw at home to league leaders Cheddar.

In the Uhlsport Somerset County League, Division 1 side Staplegrove face a very tough test as they visit Mendip Broadwalk.

The Bristol side sit second behind Bridgwater Reserves, while Staplegrove are seven points above the dropzone.