Hogg: ‘Settled squad key for Bury’
Gavin Hogg is hoping to avoid making lots of changes to his Bury St Edmunds RUFC squad before their second season in National League Two South.
The Wolfpack reported back for the first day of pre-season training at the weekend, as they began their preparations for the upcoming 2016-17 campaign.
And with their season-opener against Clifton now less than two months away, director of rugby Hogg is planning on a quiet summer of transfer activity.
“We’re going to try and avoid lots of changes,” he said. “We don’t want to be starting from scratch.
“The players showed last year they can be competitive in this league. It was apparent on Saturday when I looked around there was lots of familiar faces.
“There’s a good atmosphere in the dressing room. We’ve retained the majority of the squad from last season and there’s a buzz and excitement.”
After being promoted as champions of National League Three London and South East in 2014-15, Bury went on to secure an impressive seventh-placed finish in their first season in the fourth tier of English rugby union earlier this year.
Hogg has bolstered his squad with the additions of Liam McBride, Irish duo Ross Bailey and Michael Mellett and Cai Griffiths, the latter coming on board as a player-coach.
But, the Bury boss has stressed the importance of keeping a settled squad for their second tilt in National Two.
“It’s massive really,” Hogg said. “Our first season in National Two was always going to be a learning experience, but we really improved in the second half of the season.
“Having a settled group will give us the opportunity to start on a real high. Last season we had a lot of new faces and it took time to get them all to gel.
“If we can have a settled squad with the players all familiar with each other, then come September 3, we’ll have laid good foundations ready to hit the ground running.”