BOWERS boss John Doyle is keeping his fingers crossed that tonight’s game at Wakering will survive the weather so his improving side can test themselves against a side he rates as title favourites.

Neither side has played for more than three weeks because of the Christmas break and the seemingly endless rain.

But this evening’s Essex Senior League match has as good a chance as any of beating the weather on Burroughs Park’s reliable surface.

And it’s a clash with plenty at stake with the hosts second in the division and three points behind leaders Enfield 1893, with both sides on the same goal-difference having both played 18 games.

Dan Trenkel’s side are determined to win the title this season after leading for the early parts of the campaign last year before Burnham came through like a train to win it.

But they will be looking over their shoulders as well as up because they are also level on 41 points with third-placed Takeley and fourth-placed Tower Hamlets.

Doyle said: “It’s close at the top but I still think Wakering are favourites because of their experience last year.

“We want to win but it is also important for me to just get a good performance.

“We lost 5-2 to them in our second game of the season so this will show how far we’ve come. Hopefully there will be some progression shown.

“We’ve only lost two in our last 10 games and we are now competing with teams at the top of the division, which we didn’t do last year.

“So hopefully the game will be on, and at Wakering it has a chance, but with this weather all the games are doubtful.”

Bowers’ home game with Haringey Borough was called off on Saturday because of a water-logged pitch, and they instead played Witham in a friendly on an artificial pitch.

Doyle said: “It was good to play because you can do as much training as you want but there’s no substitute for matches.

“Garry (Kimble, the Witham manager) put out a strong side but we got a 4-3 win, so it was a good exercise for us.”

Bowers are 14th in the division and their last outing was an impressive 4-1 home win over Sporting Bengal.

Elsewhere in the division tonight, Hullbridge Sports are due to host Basildon United at Lower Road.

But Sports have seen their home fixtures hit badly by the weather and the game is likely to be in some doubt.