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Bury coach lays down challenge ahead of Canterbury trip

CHALLENGE SET: Bury head coach Ollie Smith
CHALLENGE SET: Bury head coach Ollie Smith

Ollie Smith has challenged his Bury St Edmunds players to prove their promotion credentials with a victory at top-four outfit Canterbury tomorrow (3pm), writes Russell Claydon.

The Wolfpack have won two of their three away games so far this season, but those have come at third-from-bottom Broadstreet and mid-table Barnstaple.

“We came close at Redruth (12-9) and it would have been a fantastic victory down there but we fell short,” said head coach Smith following Saturday’s 37-30 win at home to Worthing Raiders.

“We had a good performance, but ultimately defeat, against Taunton, and thankfully we have turned the tide with a victory against Worthing, although it wasn’t pretty at times.

“The challenge now is, and we will keep saying it if we want to go on and become a team that really wants to challenge to go into National One in the near future, you have really got to go and win games at places like Canterbury away from home. We have got to beat the teams at the top to be top.

“It is going to be one hell of a challenge, but one we are really up for.”

Bury are still low on options for the scrum-half position with Italian Luke Merolle set for a six to eight week enforced absence due to a broken jaw he suffered in the Taunton home loss, while Harry Anderson-Brown’s head injury in the same game sees him again sit out.

But in teenage summer signing Matt Harrison, who took Saturday’s sponsors Servest UK’s coaches man of the match award, Smith believes they have an able deputy.

“He is fresh out of school and did really well and has probably earned the shirt for the weekend,” he said.

Canterbury, who lost 19-14 at Taunton last time out, include Smith’s former professional playing partner Matt Corker in the second row.

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