INJURIES will not stop league leaders Lydney travelling to Barnstaple tomorrow with the aim of extending their advantage at the top of National Three, writes Laura Fell.
Prop Seb Merritt tore his biceps muscle last week and is having an operation today, former Bath scrum-half and Lydney’s latest signing Mike Baxter faces a late fitness test (glutes) and Dave Bennett is unavailable.
The pacesetters suffered a scare last weekend against Newton Abbot, leaving it late to secure a 16-14 victory over the mid-table side, while Barnstaple sneaked a win over fourth-placed Brixham.
While team manager Colin Henderson insists Lydney are not taking anything for granted, they are 19 points clear and raring to go tomorrow (2.30pm).
Henderson said: “It is never easy travelling and we will have had two trips to Devon in the last week.
“The injuries are a bit of a blow but Jack O’Connell is coming back in and he won’t let us down.
“Newton Abbot are not bad; they pushed us around and bullied us.
“But we didn’t play badly, we simply didn’t take our chances. We didn’t get over the line.
“We need to make sure we do that tomorrow as nothing is certain. Win four more games, we are there or thereabouts but we can’t take anything for granted.”
Head coach Duncan Bell will be starting from the bench for Newport Gwent Dragons this evening (7.05pm) against Ulster.
The clash at Ravenhill will be the second RaboDirect Pro 12 game the 39-year-old has played since signing for the Dragons last week to ease their front row crisis.
The former England and Bath prop starred in the Dragons’ 24-23 victory over Glasgow Warriors last Sunday.
Bell will be heading straight from Ireland to Barnstaple for Lydney’s game.