Preview: Wharfedale vs Old Albanian

Billy Johnson and Andrew Daish work together

Billy Johnson and Andrew Daish work together - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian head coach Andy Holloway has praised his side’s mental resilience ahead of their trip to Wharfedale in National League One.

To say OAs have had a turbulent season would be an understatement. They opened the campaign with eight straight losses before turning the form book on its head and reeling off five wins in a row. A defeat to Hartpury College and victory at Darlington Mowden Park followed before OAs hit another slump, losing five straight.

They seem to be out of the woods after back-to-back victories over Fylde and Blaydon but they remain in the bottom four, four points off safety.

Holloway has repeated said that he looks no further than the next opponent, calling every game a cup final, but, looking back, he commended his players on their ability to bounce back from torrid runs.

“They’ve showed spirit all season,” he said. “After losing eight games, it’s difficult to keep spirits up. You’ve got to take into account who we played and when because four of the five losses on the bounce were top teams.

“The boys are mentally resilient. It would have been easy to feel sorry for ourselves and roll over against Fylde, but the resilience and how positive they were, and their preparation; they were outstanding. They have been great like that all season, they’ve have to be. It you’re not mentally tough then it could spiral even further.”

OAs beat Wharfedale 31-7 when the teams met at Woollams earlier in the season. It was an impressive victory for Holloway’s men, but he knows Saturday’s opponent is a different animal at their home ground,

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“We beat them at home but they’re a different proposition at home when they haven’t had to travel. It’ll be windy, there’s a big slope and they play nice rugby,” he told the Herts Ad.

“It’s a different challenge to Blaydon but one we’re looking forward to.”