DEPARTING Bury St Edmunds head coach Dwain Brown believes every single one of his side’s remaining fixtures are “make or break” matches, starting with tomorrow’s vital clash at second-placed Sidcup (2.15pm) in London League Division One North.
Brown officially takes charge of Bury for the final time tomorrow before returning to South Africa, although he will also be involved in a playing capacity at The Haberden against Brentwood seven days later.
And Brown hopes to leave Bury with a record of nine wins from their last 10 matches before Welshman Roger Coombs takes full charge against the Essex side on January 29.
“Without doubt, this match against Sidcup this weekend is important because they are in second and eight points ahead of us,” said Brown. “But at this stage, because of our slow start, every game is make or break for us.
“We can’t afford to lose any matches if we want to be realistic about getting to a play-off spot.”
When the two sides met in the reverse fixture on October 9, Bury began to recover from a poor start to the season, which saw them lose three of their opening five matches, including a 14-5 loss to bottom-side Eton Manor the previous week.
It needed a last-ditch Tim Ball try to secure victory over Sidcup at The Haberden that day, but Bury have not looked back since, losing only to runaway leaders Westcliff by a single point since.
The latest of eight victories from those nine fixtures was a 63-0 demolition of Eton Manor on Saturday – a match that was capped by a try from player-coach Brown.
“The defeat to Eton Manor was the turning point of our season,” said the South African. “After that we had a big, long think and a talk about what we had to start doing right.
“We’ve started doing that and it was nice to get one back on them on Saturday and it was nice to play the way we should.”
However, Sidcup should prove to be a completely different kettle of fish as they are a side desperate to hold on to the play-off berth they currently occupy in London League Division one North.
The second best team in London One North and the second best side in London One South clash in a play-off at the end of the season, bidding for a spot in the National League.
“We’ve got to stick to our game plan and the structures we have been putting into place,” said Brown, when asked what his side had to do to defeat Sidcup again. “It’s really been coming together over the last two matches – the boys have really listened to what we are trying to get across.
“If we stick to what we are doing then I have a lot of confidence that things will go well.”
However, Bury will be missing Kiwi kicker Brentan Krammer once again after the fly-half fractured a rib against Old Colfeians on January 8.