After criticising their attitude in a disappointing 24-14 defeat at Old Redclifficans, Bury St Edmunds’ Ollie Smith is warning his players they are now very much playing for their futures at the club.
With the carrot of promotion now out of their grasp following four defeats in their last five, head coach Smith is desperate to salvage the season by delivering Bury’s highest ever finish — requiring a top five spot.
Ahead of tomorrow’s home game with 12th-placed Barnstaple (3pm), The Wolfpack lie in seventh and just three points adrift of fifth-placed Redruth.
“A few players have had their pride hurt but they need to now man up and get back out there and perform,” said the head coach.
“We have got guys that really need to put in a performance and if they don’t perform they will be moved on at the end of the season — it’s as simple as that.
“Most of the guys are playing for contracts.
“We know we are not going to go up now and, realistically, barring a catastrophe, we are not going to go down.
“But we want to finish as high up the table as we can, sixth or above, which would be the highest for Bury in any league.”
He added: “Our support has been fantastic at The Haberden and we want to put on a good game for them to watch.”
There will be a first chance for the home crowd to see a new signing in action with captain Liam McBride having helped to recruit his fellow Dutch international Jake Ashby, who plays at scrum-half.
“Jake has come in from a club in Holland but he is primarily a Kiwi,” said Smith.
“He came via Liam McBride who said there is a lad in Holland who you ought to have a look at.
“Harry Anderson-Browne has gone off to Australia to play for a bit, so he got an opportunity (on Saturday) and he did alright.”
Reflecting on the overall disappointing display in Bristol, Smith said: “We discovered certain facets of our game did not work but ultimately we were just a bit lacklustre, which is more disappointing than anything. It was our attitude that was probably the biggest thing that let us down.”
n Meanwhile, Bury’s pro-am performance director Terry Sands says the club could ‘not be more proud’ of Toby Trinder’s selection to the England Under-20 elite development squad. The Northampton Saints senior academy player spent last season with The Wolfpack on a loan deal.