No room for sentiment under new Bury St Edmunds coach, Jon Clarke

Bury St Edmunds' head coach, Jon Clarke.

Bury St Edmunds' head coach, Jon Clarke.

New head coach Jon Clarke admits there can be little room for sentiment as Bury St Edmunds embark on a five-year plan to reach the Championship.

Preparing for their third season in National 2 South, the ambitious Wolfpack are eyeing a rapid rise to the second-tier of English rugby, and have already signed Ireland’s Yasin Browne, plus Italian duo Federico Silvestri and Daniele Greco.

That trio will return to pre-season under a new-look management team which features Clarke as well as former Ireland international Kevin Maggs – the Wolfpack spreading the net far and wide in their latest recruitment drive.

“In order to be successful, you have got to improve every year, you can’t have one good year then one bad one,” said former England Saxons and Northampton Saints’ player, Clarke.

“We go into pre-season with a fresh squad and just because a player has been there a long time or started every game last season, that does not mean they are automatically going to play this season.

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“At the same time if someone had a bad year, we will be looking for a reaction from that player and there will be positions up for grabs. It’s about who wants it enough and having players who work hard and want to keep pushing forwards.”

Bury finished 11th in last season’s National 2 South table, having ended seventh in their debut campaign at that level, the Wolfpack losing 18 of their 30 league games, including eight at home.

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“There has to be a structure put in place where we become difficult to beat – you will never win promotion if you’re not – and to do that you have to find the right balance between defence and attack,” added Clarke in response to the club’s recent ‘five-year plan’ announcement.

“We have got to find a way to win all our home games and while the target would be to win promotion every year, if we don’t, we’ve got to keep improving every year and keep going forward.

“We have a good board at the club that are trying to improve all the time off the pitch and now we have just got to get the rugby side of things right.”

On the club’s recent new arrivals, Clarke said: “The key will be to get them settled as quickly as possible.

“We endeavour to do what we can and Bury is a fantastic club that provides them with accommodation, which is massive, and shows a good bit of ambition.”

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