Director of rugby Gavin Hogg hopes back-to-back home games at the start of 2015 can reignite Bury St Edmunds’ faltering title charge.
After hitting top spot in National Three London and South East by deposing former leaders Westcombe Park on November 15, the Suffolk side ended the year with three defeats in four games.
That has left Bury in fourth, five points behind table-toppers London Irish Wild Geese and just one behind second-placed Chichester, who currently occupy the promotion play-off position.
“It’s nice to start the campaign again in January with two home games,” said Hogg, whose side host 10th-placed Amersham and Chiltern at The Haberden tomorrow (3pm). “We are not taking them for granted – it will be a very physical affair.”
Amersham defeated Bury at the start of the season, but have been ravaged with injury since and start the game five points above the bottom two.
Bury will also have to contend with several absentees after picking up three red cards in their last outing at Hertford – a last-gasp 31-30 defeat – on December 20.
Loma Kivalu, Kieran Black and Charlie Pask – who was playing his first match after returning to the club from Cambridge – were all dismissed and will sit out this weekend through suspension, the lengths of which are expected to be confirmed by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) soon.
Greg White and Tim Young compound Hogg’s problems by both being absent, but Ben Cooper could be involved in the front row after rejoining Bury from spells at Cambridge and Newmarket, while Sam Bragoli-Jones and Ashley Stevenson could also be called into the pack.
Aaron Waters has recovered from a broken ankle, but is expected to turn out for the Wolfhounds.
With as many as seven teams still arguably in the title race, Hogg expects the 2015 run-in to be a cracker.
“We are raring to go,” he said. “It looks it is going down to the wire.”