ALL THE FOCUS IS ON PLAY-OFF
FINAL selection will be deferred until the morning of the game, but Raiders head coach Jordan Reynolds has a message for visiting Bournemouth: ‘We will be ready’.
In promotion terms this is very much last chance saloon for the current Raiders squad.
Future seasons may offer chances of going up, but having squandered two golden opportunities of a straight path into National Two South, Reynolds knows that they really must make it ‘third time lucky’.
‘We will throw everything at it. It’s not often you get the third opportunity and if we don’t win it we don’t deserve to go up.’
That is the stark reality of the situation.
‘Deserving’ something is easy to say, but it needs to be backed up by results. Reynolds knows that and, he says, so too does his squad.
‘The mood is good and although we had some sore bodies after last week, as the days have gone by more and more have recovered and want to get stuck in.’
Reynolds knows little more than meets the eye with Bournemouth, but reckon them to be a ‘pretty consistent squad’.
‘They have got a couple of big forwards and they are going to be a pretty quality side, no different to the top four sides in our league.’
On the selection front he wants to give the one or two that are struggling every chance to be fit, but in general terms the treatment table is clearing by the day.
Having Malcolm Barnes back at 9 is a massive lift, not least because the wealth of experience he carries.
‘Having him back is a big lift for us,’ said Reynolds who insists that the imminence of the Siam Cup day is having no bearing whatsoever in his preparations.
‘This playoff is everything to us.
‘The boys have worked hard all season and in terms of legacy this is far more important.
‘We will see what’s left (in personnel) after this one.’
Reynolds has also paid tribute to Steve Melbourne and the RBSI Guernsey Rugby Academy for working their ‘Junior Siam Cup’ day around the needs of the senior side.
‘Fair play to Jersey and our Academy, because it has been a tough transition.
“But it’s all worked out and it should be a great day.’
Certainly, there promises to be a big crowd down there and, remember, entry is FREE.
Kick off is at 1.45pm.
MALCOLM Barnes, Douglas Horrocks, Luke Jones and Dan Hill are all back.
But the full match-day squad of 19 won’t be confirmed until Saturday.
Ned Brown, who is away, and the injured Charlie Currie, are definitely out while a couple of others are progressing nicely and should be fit.
‘We have had the all-clear on Malcolm Barnes to return, as well as Dan Hill, Doug Horrocks and Luke Jones. There are four names there who can change the outcome of any game.‘
Bournemouth made the play-off after winning 17 and drawing one of their 26 South West Premier games in finishing clear runners-up behind champions Dings Crusaders.