STEVE Smith says it is vital his Burton RFC team do not switch off as they seek to earn a play-off home advantage which would mean “a hell of a lot”.
The Crofters secured their place in the promotion decider with a narrow victory against Stratford last weekend, and they will face local rivals Derby in a winner-takes-all clash a week tomorrow.
The teams may be decided for that match, but the venue is still up for grabs, as it will be held at the ground of the team who finish on the highest number of points.
Derby have played all their games and are currently two points ahead of Burton, who can steal a march if they beat Barkers Butts tomorrow, kick-off 3pm.
“It’s great that we’re in the play-offs, but we just have to finish the league season in the right manner,” said Smith.
“It would be easy for the players to think ‘we’re in the play-offs’ and this game doesn’t matter, but a home fixture would mean a hell of a lot to the club.
“Barkers Butts look to be safe this season so they’ve not got everything to play for, which is good for us.
“But they’ll want to put on a show in their last game of the season, so I’d expect them to come out fighting.
“As soon as you relax, you give the opponents a chance and that’s things become tight and you pick up injuries.
“We’ve got to take them to task.”
On Saturday, Burton won 35-32 as hosts Stratford put on a late surge, threatening to spoil the Crofters’ day.
“Last week, I would have taken a 3-0 win,” said Smith.
“We got the job done but I was a bit disappointed with the way the game ended – and we’ve only got ourselves to blame for that.
“It should have been a case of how many we won by, rather than if we won at all.
“The lads know where they went wrong.”
Dave Archer is still recovering from injury and will not be risked this weekend. He will have a fitness test today to see if he will be able to feature in the play-offs.
Matt Tivey is in a similar position with his rib injury, with Smith hoping he will be back to face Derby, although both players may only make the bench.
However, the Crofters coach is backing their replacements to play a key role in the final two games of the season.
“Simon Bradley came in and had a really good game, while Dewi Williams probably enjoyed his best game of the season,” he said.
“It might well be that those two have a starring role in the play-offs.