Steve Drawbridge has made it clear he does not want to see Newmarket embroiled in a battle in their RFU Junior Vase clash with Maldon.
The Scaltback side will take their first steps towards a potential outing at Twickenham when travelling down to Essex for the second-round tie on Saturday (2.30pm).
With Newmarket head coach Drawbridge all too aware of what his side are likely to come up against at Maldon — who currently sit sixth in the Essex Canterbury Jack League One — he is hoping his side can play to their own strengths.
“Maldon will be a typical Essex side with a very strong forceful pack,” said Drawbridge. “We will be looking to move them around the park and play a different game as we are not looking at getting into a battle with them.
“Although their form has been a bit up and down this season, playing at home at this level is a huge advantage.
“The cup tradition here at Newmarket is very strong and I am a great believer and supporter of the cup.
“While the league is our focus, I will not be putting a weakened side out and I am going into the match full of confidence.”
Drawbridge has every right to feel enthusiastic about Newmarket obtaining the victory and progressing into the third round with his side entering the game on the back of a three-game winning run in Greene King IPA Eastern Counties League Division One.
“It has not been the prettiest rugby to watch this season and the injury list we have is as long as I have ever known one in all the years I have been involved with rugby,” said Drawbridge. “Not having forwards Matt Cooper and Lewis Smith due to knee injuries sustained last year is a big loss, especially that of Matt, who I wanted to build around for years to come.
“But we are finally getting together a team and the results are beginning to come together.
“What has impressed me is the people that have come into the team have shown great improvements and a willingness to fight for each other on the pitch.”
On the flip side, Drawbridge has pointed out areas the club needs to work on if they want to maintain their winning ways and keep themselves both near the top of the table and secure a decent run in the Vase.
“What we need to do is translate that willingness shown on the pitch towards training numbers, and a consistency in selection availability,” said Drawbridge. “Another area which needs improving is our front row as, apart from the first five, we have not got the strength and depth in that department we have previously had and that is down to injuries.
“However, I only see us getting better as the season goes on as we get people back, and while I am not going to say we are going to win the league we can still have a major say in results at the top of the table.”
For a full report of Newmarket’s clash with Crusaders, turn to Page 66.