AFC TOTTON boss Steve Riley is confident of keeping midfielder Lewis Ross on board at the Testwood Stadium – despite interest from reigning Sydenhams Premier Division outfit Blackfield & Langley.

Ross is dual-signed with the Stags from Blackfield’s Wessex neighbours Fawley AFC and, says Riley, is enjoying the challenge of playing two rungs higher in the Calor Southern Premier Division.

He said: “I’ve spoken to Lewis and he told me he’s played at that level (Wessex) for a long time and he wants to play at the highest level he can. That’s why he came to us.

“He’s developing his game and getting better all the time. That’s what young players like him need to do.”

Ross should be available again for the relegation-battling Stags tomorrow after recovering from a knee infection as Totton prepare to take on Redditch United at the Testwood Stadium.

Having taken young AFC Bournemouth duo Harrison Gilkes and Lewis Lindsay on loan for a month last weekend, Riley is just praying the game goes ahead.

They were left without a game last Saturday when the game at Biggleswade Town was rained off and Riley said: “It would be a nightmare if it was off tomorrow as well because that would be a full week of the Bournemouth lads’ loan without playing a game.

“We’ve got a bit of competition for places now and it’s very frustrating when games are postponed.”