BURTON head coach Steve Smith has again warned his squad they need to show more commitment to the cause.
The Crofters return from the winter break with a visit to county rivals Walsall tomorrow.
And Smith is urging all his players to get stuck in - or face being dropped.
“Players must show more commitment than has been evident in recent weeks,” he said.
“They must attend training regularly so that selection can be assured.
“With more players becoming available, competition for places is growing and preference will be given to those who train and play on a regular basis.
“Players need to beware: non-appearance or a lack of communication during the week could well lead to non-selection at the weekend.”
Walsall go into the Midlands One (West) fixture at Delves Road, kick-off 2.15pm, full of confidence after beating former title-hopefuls Lichfield 20-15 before the break.
When Burton met Walsall at Peel Croft in September they comfortably beat the visitors 41-28 — but Walsall have improved dramatically since and now sit in seventh spot, three places and nine points behind Burton.
Tricky back Dave Archer, prop Tom Murphy and fly-half Will Peach are all available for the first XV, while injury doubts remain over strongman prop Simon Bradley, flanker Ed Henry and young full-back Steve McRobbie.
Smith has been happy with the progress of several youngsters who have come into the first XV in recent weeks.
Several of the club’s colts have made a big impact this season and Smith is looking forward to them helping Burton finish as high up the table as possible ahead of a possible title tilt next season.
“In the weeks prior to the break, either by necessity or choice, we have seen several more youngsters come into the side and show they’re well able to fill any gaps that arise,” said the head coach.
“Indeed, Tom Cooper (wing) and Kieran Hawketts (front row) have been regular selections, while others like James Davies (wing), Jack Champney (lock/back row), Gavin Worth (centre) and Ali Weedon (back row) were all eagerly waiting in the wings when the Stoke fixture was postponed.”
This week, all the senior sides at the club play their opposite numbers from Walsall, with the A XV at home and the B XV travelling to Walsall.
The Colts will play Nuneaton away in a friendly fixture, kick-off 2.15pm, with those involved to be informed.