BLAIR Hunter says he is not underestimating the size of the task when Droitwich go to Stoke-on-Trent this Saturday (3pm).
A postponement to last weekend’s home clash with Old Halesonians meant the Monners only completed two Midlands One West fixtures in the last month – their previous outing being the 33-12 defeat to Ludlow on February 8.
With the potential for some rustiness in the Droitwich ranks after the four-week break in play, adding to the erratic nature of seventh-placed Stoke’s results this season, the Monners coach is wary of a difficult task ahead at Hartwell Lane this weekend.
“Stoke are a very fickle side; when they’re red hot they’re a really good side,” Hunter said.
“They’ve had a strange run of results. They’ve beat some good sides in the league but they’ve had some unexpected losses against clubs lower down in the table that you wouldn’t expect.
“A lot of clubs from Worcestershire see Stoke as a long journey. We’ve had instances such as last year where delays getting to the ground have caused players to arrive ten minutes before kick-off and not get a proper warm-up in.
“Stoke is always a hard slog away from home. They put over 50 points past us last year [a 55-31 defeat in March 2019], but if we play smartly and use our forwards well – where we feel we’re particularly strong – then we can be competitive.”
Hunter also conceded his frustration at last weekend’s postponed clash, which was waved off half-an-hour before the scheduled kick-off.
He added: “Considering it’s been a month since our last game, we were really keen as a squad to play last weekend.
“The team was in good shape and we were fit and ready to go, so it was disappointing after the consultation between the opposition hierarchy and the referee that the game was postponed.
“But training has been good since then, so we’re confident for the weekend.”
Droitwich’s well-documented injury crisis has eased, any full return to fitness had been curtailed by a lack of matches while the Monners are set to be without four of their backs this weekend, with Hunter stating the squad is “at 75 per cent” strength.