Bury St Edmunds forced to reshuffle their pack and three-quarters due to injuries ahead of Barnes trip
- Credit: Archant
Bury St Edmunds will be forced into several changes for tomorrow afternoon’s crunch encounter in National League Two South at Barnes (kick-off 2.30pm).
Gavin Hogg’s men ended a run of six straight defeats with a vital 33-28 home win over basement dwellers Exmouth last weekend, to open up a six-point gap between themselves and today’s hosts Barnes, who currently occupy the third and last relegation slot.
Back-to-back wins at Barnes would be another huge step towards securing their fourth tier status into a third season, but injuries and suspension will make it a tough proposition for the Suffolk visitors.
Recent recruit Dave Ellis, who made his Wolfpack debut against Exmouth, picked up an injury while playing for the RAF on Wednesday, and so is unlikely to feature.
Also in the pack, Maku Koroiyadi is unavailable, with club stalwart Matt Edison coming in at No. 8 instead, and Hogg is also sweating on fitness tests to his two second row forwards.
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In the backs, inspirational centre Sam Sterling was sent off last weekend, and so serves a two-match suspension, and his likely replacement Shaq Meyers tore his groin while playing on the wing against Exmouth and will therefore be sidelined for a few weeks.
Instead, Ross Bailey-Kearney will come in for Sterling, and Chris Snelling will also come into the three-quarter line.
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“Matches between the two clubs have always tended to be tight affairs,” explained Hogg, Bury’s Director of Rugby.
“We nicked it against them at home (12-10 win last November), thanks to a late penalty kick. The game was played in very poor conditions, but usually they are high-scoring affairs.
“Barnes came up from National Three (London & SE) with us, so we know all about them. I see that their chairman (Michael Whitfield) has come out and said that this is a ‘make-of-break’ match for his club, because they have some hard games in April.
“At least last weekend’s game has given us some breathing space. We were targeting five points in that game, but this will be a bigger test for us, even though Barnes might be low on confidence.
“We just need to be a bit tighter, defensively,” added Hogg.