‘My biggest fear is that we under-estimate them’ – Bury coach Ollie Smith
- Credit: Archant
The biggest fear for Ollie Smith, Bury St Edmunds’ head coach, is that his side’s “under-estimates” the difficulty of their next three fixtures, all of whom are against teams in the lower half of the National League Two South table.
The Wolfpack, who ended 2017 with an entertaining 44-15 home win over Broadstreet, are away at 14th-placed Old Redcliffians (near Bristol) this afternoon, before entertaining Barnstaple (11th spot) and then travelling to Wimbledon (16th, bottom) the following two weekends.
Bury themselves are well-placed in seventh slot, and so have aspirations of rising into the top five by the end of this month.
“We’re keen to get back into it after the Christmas break, although playing away at Old Redcliffians will be a tough ask from a mindset point of view,” admitted Smith.
“They haven’t had the best of seasons, but they are still very competitive, especially on their home patch.
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“They will see this is an opportunity to turn us over, because they are fighting for their lives, although on paper I’d like to think we have enough in the tank to win.
“However, my biggest fear is that we under-estimate them.
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“You have to be switched on in all games, especially against the teams from lower down the table.
“The way the fixtures worked out this season, we ended up playing the top three over three weeks, which saw us lose four out of five games at one point.
“Now we have a number of matches against teams below us. If you don’t kill off these teams in the first 15 minutes, then it can take a lot longer to get the job done.
“This is a very competitive division. Only the top two teams are dominating, otherwise most matches there is rarely more than 10 points in it, which can be down to one mistake or one refereeing decision,” added Smith.
Bury will hand a debut to scrum-half Jake Ashby, a Holland-based New Zealander. Ashby takes the place of Harry Anderson-Brown, who has left the club to play in Australia.
“We always knew that was going to happen,” confirmed Smith.
BURY: Smith, King, Coutts, Stanley, Edison, Bixby, Stapleton, Uru, Ashby, Honey, Corcoran, McBride, Kohler, Snelling, Lord. Replacements: Greco, Wilson, Browne, Harrison, O’Reilly.