8th Apr, 2020

PREVIEW: Winter anticipates tough Plymouth Albion encounter at the Butts tomorrow

RUGBY UNION: COVENTRY Rugby boss Rowland Winter believes promotion rivals Plymouth Albion will provide his side with a stern test at the Butts Park Arena on Saturday.

Albion arrive 11 points short of Winter’s men, who have dropped just two points in their first 11 games of the 2017/18 season.

Coventry’s standout winning streak stretches back to February last year where, ironically, Plymouth defeat the Butts Park Arena side on their home patch.

And that provides Coventry with one of several reasons why a win against the Devon side would come as a huge psychological boost as the promotion charge continues into the colder months.

<b><i>Speaking to Observer sports editor Shaun Reynolds</i></b> on Wednesday morning, Winter revealed he expects Plymouth to present a significant threat in all areas of the game.

He made particular reference to Albion’s back line.

“Albion’s back line will be lively,” said Winter.

“They’ll move the ball around and it will take a big performance from us to contain their threats.

“Plymouth are a good side. They have an all-round skills set with a big challenge up front.

“We’re comfortable of our home record and we want to maintain that.

“As Plymouth were the last team to beat us it would be nice to increase our lead over them.

“I’m excited. It’s one of those fixtures that we all had our eye on once the fixture list was published.”

A series of tough fixtures are lined up for Coventry prior to the two-week Christmas break.

They face mid-table Rosslyn Park to start December before clashes against top four teams Ampthill and Darlington Mowden Park. The month ends with a troublesome away tie at Birmingham Moseley.

And Winter – with promotion in one part of his mind – is all too aware of this.

He said: “These games in the run up to Christmas will define how the first half of our season goes.

“The ultimate aim of the club is get back into the Championship.

“But not only that, we want to become a solid Championship side. That’s part of our long-term plan.

“Whether promotion is possible this year remains to be seen, but we’ve enjoyed a good start and we’re in a solid position.”

One boost Winter can add to his ticklist is the return of several key players, who have been missing through injury, in the coming weeks.

And competition for a place in the first team is creating a positive atmosphere in the club’s changing room.

“Competition for spots within the team has created an impressive level of intensity during training,” said Winter.

“We’re all raring to go. And the players are at Coventry for a reason, they’ve been brought in as part of our long-term plan.

“That drive pushes us forward.”

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