Gavin Hogg has warned his Bury St Edmunds side they must be on top of their game when they host struggling Guernsey tomorrow (4pm).
The Haberden-based outfit go into the clash full of confidence on the back of five straight wins, but Hogg expects a backlash from Guernsey after they let a 10-point lead slip in the final five minutes to lose to Basingstoke a fortnight ago.
“We are certainly expecting a very difficult game,” said Hogg. “They have had an indifferent start and are struggling at the wrong end of the table, but still drew with (league leaders) Old Elthamians.
“They have to jump on a plane each week and you never know which side is going to turn up so they are a bit of an unknown quantity, but if we don’t perform to our best, we could be in trouble.”
With no match last weekend, Bury have had two weeks off following their hard-fought 19-10 win at Barnes, where Casey Stone’s try and a resolute defensive performance were the difference between the two sides, with Bury fully meriting their victory.
Hogg wasted no time in utilising the time off effectively, putting his players through their paces in a gruelling gym session at RAF Honington, before a fitness session in partnership with Lucozade Sport.
With a few players taking knocks in recent weeks, the break came at an ideal time for Bury, who will still be without Sam Bixby, Will Martin and Chris Snelling for the visit of 12th-placed Guernsey, whose only victory this season came against pointless Thurrock.
While Guernsey are languishing in the bottom half, Bury sit fifth in the table, just six points adrift of top spot and will see tomorrow’s encounter as a chance to keep in touch with the early pacesetters.
“We need to pick up where we left off at Barnes – we know that if we play to our potential we have a really good chance of causing problems to anyone on our day,” enthused Hogg.
The Bury coach was coy on his team selection ahead of the game, but said he has been delighted with his whole squad so far this campaign.
“We have used the first six matches to look at different combinations and have used 28 players so far, which has given a lot of players their first experience of National League Three rugby which is great,” he said. “From our perspective it keeps us competitive and I am delighted at how quickly we have adapted to the physicality of the league.
“One of the things that stands out is our ability to finish games strongly.”