DIRECTOR of rugby Dan Protherough says his players are preparing for a ‘fierce battle’ ahead of their trip to promotion rivals Old Halesonians tomorrow (Saturday).
However, the Bromsgrove boss has refused to considering it as a ‘season-defining’ fixture as they gear up for the much-anticipated local derby.
A maximum point victory for Old Hales could see them move 13 points clear of fourth placed Boars who have expressed their desire to secure promotion this season.
But Protherough insisted only bragging rights would be at stake for the National Three Midlands encounter as he said there was a long way to go in the campaign.
“Last year we lost away from home to Old Hales, but it was actually our best performance of the season and we went on and won ten games on the trot after that,” Protherough said.
“There will be local pride at stake and obviously we want to win the game, but it is not the be all and end all for the season.
“It is one game among 26. Yes, it is a big game because it is a local derby, but our season will not be defined by one game, it will be defined by what we do over 26 games.
“I expect it to be a tight and a fierce battle, so we are all looking forward to it.”
Protherough said his side took a ‘step in the right direction’ with a narrow 16-15 victory over Nuneaton and he told The Standard there was more to come from his players.
“We are defending better than we did last year and we have won games that we probably would have lost last year,” he said.
“But there is still plenty of room for improvement.
“It is a tough league with a lot of good sides, so we are glad to be winning these close games, but we have also got to pick up some bonus points.”
Bromsgrove look set to field an unchanged side to face Old Halesonians and Protherough said he hoped this was a sign of things to come.
“We are starting to get most of our team back from injury now, which is good news,” he added.
“We have had to make a lot of changes up until now where we have had people out injured or struggling with this, that or the other, so we have not had a regular 15 who has played a lot together.
“To not have a settled side has been a weakness of ours, but we are striving to get to that point.”