Ipswich visit Old Albanians
Rugby:IPSWICH have again been hit by injury and unavailability for the testing trip to Old Albanians tomorrow (Sat).Coach Guy Atherton admitted: "We are struggling and we know it will be an uphill battle.
IPSWICH have again been hit by injury and unavailability for the testing trip to Old Albanians tomorrow (Sat).
Coach Guy Atherton admitted: "We are struggling and we know it will be an uphill battle.
"One of the problems is that the current bad weather, with rain and heavy grounds, doesn't suite our style of play. We have to adapt and learn because the forecast is for more wet conditions this weekend."
Ipswich have seven League games left in which to survive in the London League Division Two North.
Atherton added: "Clubs near the bottom like Sudbury and Thurrock are beginning to pick up victories. We must make sure we do the same to avoid being dragged into the relegation dog fight. Our number one aim now is to avoid relegation this season."
Two players yet to make a first team appearance in this campaign have been drafted into the team, Mike Edmonds and Michael Bolton both will line up on the flank in a new look back row.
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Alex Pimmer is restored to number eight after missing last Saturday's defeat at Southend because he was playing for the victorious Eastern Counties Under 21 teams the following day.
Fly half Ace Van Heerden is away at the wedding of centre Jezz Brotherton, so both will be missing.
Also out is forward Sean Murphy who suffered a knock on the head in the opening minutes of the game at Southend, which Ipswich lost 39-16, and eventually had to leave the field.
"We had reduced the gap by four points 20-16, and were on the attack in the first 10 minutes of the second half. But in the last quarter they overpowered us," said Atherton.
"We dominated in the scrum and there was plenty of tackling while we put in some big hits and that took its toll in the end."
Two other players who are unavailable tomorrow are Adrian Price and Nick Rush. Darren Hines moves to flyhalf, captain Jeff Searle switches from the back row into the centre and Ally Kerr starts on the wing.
"It is a completely reshuffled lineup forced upon us because of the situation with so many regular first team players not available," said Atherton.
Earlier in the season Old Albanians narrowly defeated Ipswich at Humber Doucy Lane by virtue of a late pushover try that was converted.
Because of the player shortage Ipswich have had to call off their Magpies fixture against Old Albanians seconds but Ipswich Thirds will be travelling for a Merit table fixture against Stowmarket second team.
Old Albanians v Ipswich:
Ipswich: Thomas, Reeve, Stephens, Townes, Briggenshaw, Bolton M, Edmonds, Primmer, Johnson, Hines, Novosad, Hughes, Searle (Jeff), Kerr (A), Searle (Jon). Replacements: Griffiths, Atherton, A another.