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Burton v Kenilworth: Match preview

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 07, 2014

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BURTON RFC could hand starts to two newly-signed players this weekend – should their match go ahead.

The Crofters are due to host Kenilworth, kick-off 2.15pm, with new signings Liam Hucknall and former star Sam Smith both named in the squad.

Hucknall, a back-row player, and centre Smith, have both joined on loan from Leicester Lions as Burton look to rediscover some momentum in their top-of-the-table challenge.

Coach Steve Briggs said: “We are looking to strengthen the squad, with a view to pushing for promotion – which is still in our own hands.

“We’ve got a squad of 25-30 players 
now, which is why we brought the two lads in.

“It’s not just about the 15 players who start the match, we need options around them.

“Injuries affected us around Christmas and that is why our form suffered at the same time.”

Burton beat tomorrow’s opponents in the reverse game – just – and Brigg is anticipating another tough clash at Peel Croft.

“We beat Kenilworth at their place, but it was a close game and we needed two late tries to win it.

“They’re on a bit of a run at the moment and it will be another tough game.

“The pitches are a bit of a leveller but with our forward pack we are looking a lot more stylish.”

Last weekend’s game against Barker’s Butts was postponed due to the weather, and has been rearranged for March 15, meaning the Crofters have only tomorrow’s game before the crunch re-match with league leaders Lichfield a week on Saturday.

“We’ve got to play as we’ve got the big game against Lichfield the week after, and people want to get into the team,” said Briggs.

“We need the first team and the second team to have a game this weekend so that people have a chance to stake their claim for a place the week after.”

Burton have had back-to-back postponements, and last time they played, lost 37-23 to Whitchurch.

“There’s nothing like games to get you out of a rut,” said Briggs.

“The Whitchurch game was a bad result, we had the game won and let it slip away.”

Another downpour could well see Saturday’s game called off as well, but asked if the game was likely to go ahead, Briggs said: “We’re hoping so.

“We’re all getting a bit cheesed off.

“We’ve got a battle over the fixtures pile-up now, and we will probably be playing into May.

“We are at least training now, using the 3G pitch at Robert Sutton School.”

Hucknall and Smith will come into the squad, with the latter likely to start in place of top points-scorer Dave Archer, who has a hamstring injury.

Joe Gazzard and Ed Henry are also still recovering from injury, with William Roach (groin) and Kelvin Browne (knee) long-term injuries, although Roach is hoping to return later this month.

“Even without Archer, Roache and Browne, who are all important players for us, I think we have a very strong team,” said Briggs.

“The postponements might actually benefit someone like Roache, because when he does come back, he won’t have missed as many games.”

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