Bury St Edmunds head coach Jacob Ford looking for side to sign off for 2021 in style against Old Albanian
Bury St Edmunds return to action at the Greene King IPA Haberden tomorrow (3pm) looking to deliver their home fans an early Christmas present and set down a marker for the second half of the season.
The Wolfpack will entertain St Albans-based Old Albanian having dropped to 11th in National League 2 South after postponing last weekend’s trip to Guernsey due to concern over a Covid case.
Head coach and director of rugby Jacob Ford explained: “One of our coaches tested positive for Covid and was in contact in the team meeting room with the wider squad.
“We had to take the precaution and measures to get everyone tested and make sure it didn’t get any further from him.
“But it fell in a period where we had to give the flight information and make a decision on Guernsey.
“The NCA (league governors) didn’t want to take the risk in the end with potentially going over there and the rules that Guernsey has means we would have to stay over there for 10 days which would be more financial costs.”
The rearranged fixture is now set to be played as a Friday evening match on March 18.
The Bury first-team squad were found not to have contracted the virus, which appeared to have been an isolated case in a second team coach.
Ford said the players have been able to train this week and they will be fired up to end a run of back-to-back home defeats to finish the year on a high note.
“I think it would be nice if we finish off the year with a home win, as you can imagine,” he said. “And then really reset ourselves over the break and come back with a refreshed mentality going into the second half of the season.”
Put to him that the first half of the season has not really gone as they would have hoped, having set their stall out for promotion in the summer, he replied: “No but I think we are definitely putting in the foundations to put us in a good position for the next few years.
“We need to continue to do that. I think the second half of the season is a good opportunity for us to kick on after a bit of reflection with the bit really between our teeth.”
Bury’s last game, a 40-36 home defeat to leaders Esher, saw them finish strongly after being 20 points down at the interval. And Ford will be looking for them to start strongly tomorrow.
“We’ve shown glimpses over the last couple of games of what we’re like when we’re at our best and it’s important we do that from the start and 80 minutes of the game,” he said.
Second rower Joe Green is back in the squad following a concussion absence.
Old Albanian lie seventh after last weekend’s 35-19 home loss to Barnes.
And Ford is expecting it to be an entertaining spectacle for a bumper home crowd.
"They are an interesting team this year," he said. "They've definitely improved from the season that we had.
"They've taken some big scalps against some big teams and they've been a bit inconsistent but they've definitely shown that they have it within their potential to compete against the best teams.
"They score a lot of points, that's for sure. They're a pretty free-flowing side so I'd expect the game at the weekend to be a high scoring one.
"There will be too similar playing sides going up against each other so that will probably make it interesting."