BURTON hope to get their season back on track tomorrow when they face lowly Ludlow at Peel Croft, kick-off 2.15pm.
Steve Smith’s battling outfit have suffered back-to-back defeats to Halesonians in Midlands One (West) league action and to rivals Lichfield in the Staffordshire Cup.
They have lost three of their last four matches, with a sole win against struggling Northwich.
However, they gave a good account of themselves last week and would have beaten Lichfield were it not for a disastrous opening to the game.
“I was very pleased with the way the lads stuck to their task last week and with so many changes I wasn’t surprised it took us a while to get into the game,” said head coach Steve Smith after a 33-30 defeat.
“We were destroyed by a Greg Massey masterclass in the first 12 minutes, so to then work our way back into the game was impressive.
“We’ve decided to select a similar side this week, with some of our regular players not making the squad.”
Dave Archer misses out, along with A XV captain Alex Reeve, after they suffered freak self-inflicted hand injuries.
One player starting to make waves in the first XV is back row forward Jason Knight.
“Jason’s was one of the outstanding performances last week — it was full of pace and power,” said Smith.
“His transition from junior world jujitsu champion to a top class rugby player is gaining momentum and his physicality and no-nonsense approach is certainly adding another dimension to the pack.
“Several players, including Kieran Hawketts, Tom Cooper and Jason really stepped up to the standard expected and if their recent improvements continue they will displace some of the regular starters in the long term.”
Colts captain Hawketts will continue at hooker, with strongman Simon Bradley and Nathan Taylor completing the front row.
Cooper will start at inside centre, with Sam Smith outside him. The back three will be Ian Gilmour, Danny Smith and Danny Campbell.
Former Boston United and Gresley Rovers footballer James Davies will be on the bench awaiting his first XV debut, along with the returning Lewis Brooks. The final place on the bench will be decided ahead of kick-off.
Burton beat Ludlow twice last season and are hoping to repeat their success tomorrow ahead of a visit to Stratford and a home game against Stoke before the brief winter break.
Ludlow have recently had two decent results — firstly when they only lost 20-12 at home to Lichfield and then last week they beat fellow strugglers Berkswell & Balsall 19-8.