Hallett hoping for a happy new year!
With the final game of 2018 making it three wins from three for Albion, Head Coach Kieran Hallett is looking to start 2019 with a bang at Blackheath.
With the last game of 2018 against Esher finishing 19-16 to Albion, it was a tight game, but one that ended Albion’s year on a positive note and moved them up to mid-table in National League One.
Hallett said, “The game was certainly more comfortable than the score reflected, the lads played with high energy and certainly showed an excellent work rate, but we just didn’t get the breaks we needed to put more points on the board.”
Albion’s opponents this weekend, Blackheath, also won their final game of 2018 when playing away to table topping Old Elthamians, with the final score being 11-12 in Blackheath’s favour. A familiar result to Albion’s home game against Blackheath in September, where Albion lost by just one point, 20-21.
Following their win against Old Elthamians, Blackheath now sit at 2nd place in the table, so Albion will not be complacent when they face their rivals this weekend, Hallett saying, “Blackheath have been playing with great confidence and that’s what happens when you get a run of good results.”
When asked about the Blackheath results this season, Hallett said, “They’ve been on the right side of tight results, but then if you look at the rest of the teams and the results this season so far, this seems to be the pattern.”
Following training on New Year’s Day, Hallett commented, “The intensity shown is exactly what is needed to get 2019 going on a positive footing.”
Hallett also believes that Albion could have turned a corner with the injuries suffered earlier in the season, leading to some great news for all the fans. Josh Skelcey who has been out of the team since an injury forced him off the field at the beginning of the season, is fit again and comes straight back into the starting line-up on the wing.
Joining Josh in his recovery from injury is Dan Mugford. Dan has been declared fit to play against Blackheath after sustaining a serious injury in the game away against Rotherham back in October, where it was first thought that Dan would not be able to return to pitch until at least the end of February. Dan will be on the bench, but we can expect to see him get his first run out on the pitch at some point during the game.
Aside from Josh & Dan, the line-up remains similar to the game against Esher on the 22nd December, with the only changes being; Luke Chapman starts ahead of Will Norton, who drops to the bench. Connor Eastgate comes in at number 10 and Cam Setter comes back at Scrum Half.
This weekend’s game will be played at Blackheath RFC, Well Hall, Eltham, SE9 6TE. Kick off will be at 3pm
M Shepherd, J Kelly, S Raumakita, D Squire, J Gott, C Eastgate, L Chapman, J Salter, D Pullinger, D Collier, L Pearson, G Mills, H Stupple (Capt), J Skelcey, C. Setter
Replacements: P Davis, W Norton, K Westlake, D Mugford, D Powell.