SUDBURY Rugby Club player-coach Mark Bolton is expecting a fiery encounter when Braintree make the short trip to Whittome Field on Saturday (2.15pm).
The Blues are looking to avenge a 52-10 defeat back in September as well as trying to register their first back-to-back wins of the campaign after last week’s morale-boosting victory at Beccles (22-19).
But Bolton, whose side are currently ninth in London Two North East, knows it will be a tall order against their neighbours, who occupy second spot after five straight wins.
“They are quite fiery games between Sudbury and Braintree and I am hopeful and optimistic we can put on a good performance,” said Bolton.
“Our season will not be judged on beating Braintree, but if we do there are only four points separating us from the next team (Enfield Ignations).”
Sudbury are set to welcome back Dan Taylor into the second row and prop Leo, but will be without Beccles try-hero Chris Whybrow (ribs) and possibly Neil Pulford (wrist) for the derby.
Four 17-year-olds made up the team which came from behind at half-time to see off lowly Beccles in a crunch game, including full-back Tom Summers, who kicked the winning penalty in the last minute. The others were winger Shaun Smith, Sam Bixby and Jake Thurlow.
Bolton believes their emergence shows the future is bright for the club and believes their second half of the season, starting at third-placed Romford & Gidea Park on January 8, can be much more fruitful.
“One area we are really targeting to improve is our concentration and if we do that we can win more games.
“I still think we can win 75 per cent of the games in the second half of the season, at least. I can see no reason why we cannot make a real challenge in the second half.”