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Newport face a big test as they tackle high-fliers

Newport’s head of rugby Bob Adams is hoping his side come out refreshed and fired up for their return to action.

A trip to National League Two West high-fliers Clifton on Saturday awaits following a free weekend.

And Adams admits the break came at the right time for his men after consecutive defeats at the hands of Hinckley, Hornets And Exeter University.

A mounting injury list has also hampered Newport’s progress in recent weeks.

“The break came at a good time for us and gave us time to regroup,” said Adams. “I don’t like talking about injuries but we had three back row players missing in recent weeks. hopefully some of them will be nearing a return to action.

“Clifton away will be very difficult. Along with Leicester they look to be the two strongest sides.

“But we came out of our last game against Hinckley with a couple of points and that’s something we need to do. If we aren’t winning we still need to pick up bonus points. Every point is vital.”

While Adams’ immediate focus is on the block of games running up till Christmas and establishing the club at this level, he intends to start his planning for next season early in the new year.

“I will start to look at areas we can strengthen from January with a view to next season,” said Adams.

“We will have to speak to our contacts and agents and see what players might be available and see if we can get some targets ticked off.

“We were probably playing catch up with our recruitment last summer.”

Bridgnorth aim to get back to winning ways when they return home this weekend.

The All Blacks host Stoke in rugby’s Regional 1 Midlands on the back of successive defeats on the road at Nuneaton and Oundle.

Those setbacks have seen Bridgnorth slip to fourth in the standings and head coach Bryan Smallman will be looking for his side to make the most of home advantage and get their promotion push back on track.

After a weekend off, Smallman has enjoyed some time on the training ground looking to resolve a few issues.

“We have had three games on the bounce away from home and I think the lads are looking forward to playing a home game,” said Smallman.

“We are not playing the style of rugby we want to play at the moment.

“Myself and the other coaches will bounce a few ideas around and relay the best messages to the the players.

“We are letting in at least one sloppy try a game at the moment.

“Hopefully we can give ourselves better opportunities to get some good results.”

“We are not see the pictures we want on the pitch at the moment.

“But we are not far away at all. The lads are so eager and hungry to play well and win.

“They are not down in the dumps. They are also searching for solutions and not sulking.

“Hopefully we can turn this around after two defeats.

“If we get the performance right then the result will take care of itself.”

Ludlow aim to make the most of home advantage in the run-in to Christmas starting with Saturday’s mouth-watering clash against title rivals Old Halesonians.

The showdown sees the Regional 2 West Midlands top two go head-to-head with Ludlow keen to shake off a recent dip in form that has seen them lose two of their last three games.

That run has seen Old Hales cut the gap at the top to two points, but Ludlow head coach Mikey Jones is not unduly concerned.

“We are still top of the league although some sides have closed the gap,” he said. “But considering all the injuries we have, we are still in a very good place. And we have been introducing some younger players recently and they are only going to get better with the more games they play.”

And Jones is hoping the break in fixtures will have helped his side recharge their batteries.

“We had a week with no training last week so that the boys could rest up and recharge,” he said.

“It’s Old Hales up next and that should be a good game. The boys will be up for that game.

“We have three games in a row at home now and we will be looking to take advantage of that.”

In Counties 1 Midlands West (North), Shrewsbury are way to Staffordshire outfit Newcastle.

Telford Hornets are also on their travels as they head to Edwardians.

It’s derby day in Counties 2 Midlands West (North) as Clee Hill travel to Newport II.

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