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Manor hope to make home advantage count this week

PUBLISHED: 10:00 23 October 2015

Eton Manor head coach Jamie Connors (left) with Simon Bottomley (centre) and Ben Thomas

Eton Manor head coach Jamie Connors (left) with Simon Bottomley (centre) and Ben Thomas

Archant

After a weekend off, the New Wilderness outfit and their New Zealand head coach are ready to get back to business

Eton Manor resume their National Three League South campaign on Saturday after having last weekend off and head coach Jamie Connors is looking for them to be competitive against Gravesend at home.

The New Wilderness outfit are bottom of the table with six defeats from their opening six games, but are beginning to get key personnel back fit again.

On Saturday a Gravesend team struggling for consistency will visit and it looks to be a great opportunity for Manor to get some more points on the board.

At the moment they only have one, but things are definitely starting to look more positive.

“It would be great to get that first win and it would give the guys a lot of confidence,” said Connors.

“The teams we are playing over the next few weeks, while they are all good sides, they aren’t as strong as Tonbridge Juddian or London Irish Wild Geese.

“I definitely expect us to be competitive, like we were against Chichester for the majority of the game. I believe we can ask a lot of questions of Gravesend.”

Manor have played against this weekend’s opposition before, in a friendly fixture at the start of the 2013/14 campaign.

That gives Connors an idea of how Gravesend may line up and he hopes his side can start to make the most of home advantage.

“We have two games at the New Wilderness in a row now,” said the New Zealander. “Gravesend this weekend, then another break before facing Wimbledon on November 7.

“We definitely need to get back into the swing of things after having last Saturday off.

“Gravesend have had a slow start and we actually played them, not last season, but the year before in a pre-season match. From what I remember they had a reasonably good four-pack.

“That could have changed now, but like most teams in this league I expect them to be strong up front.”

Manor will have Rory Moore and Callum McKie available again on Saturday and Ben Thomas is now getting up to full fitness.

Although the first team were without a match last weekend, a side from the club did take on Thurrock and it was a worthwhile exercise according to Connors.

“It was nice to have the Saturday off. Mentally more than anything because we have played six games and they’ve been tough,” he added.

“I think it would have been good for the guys to do something other than play rugby, even if a lot of them did watch it.

“We had a mixture of first, second and third team players involved against Thurrock.

“We won the match 40-0, which was good, and Ben Thomas played the full match. Rory Moore, our second-row, played and he has been out injured since pre-season.”

They are both in contention for the weekend, but captain Tryson Goodchild remains out.

Manor hope to have their skipper back for their match with Wimbledon, Connors added: “We are still waiting on Tryson, he should be back for November 7. Callum has only played once this year, but is with the squad again this weekend so that’s a positive.”


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