Rugby: Tough start to 2018 for Albanians

Old Albanian's coach Gavin Hogg. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Old Albanian's coach Gavin Hogg. Picture: KARYN HADDON - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian head to table-topping Coventry for their first National League One match of 2018 this weekend.

But head coach Gavin Hogg and his staff have a problem as they may have to travel with a team very similar to the one which took the field and drew 35-35 with Ampthill & District before Christmas.

It will take plenty of effort to ensure this lack of manpower changes will not unsettle an Albanian side used to starting an outing with a welcoming ceremony for those players who have not yet been introduced to their peers.

But it is possible this novel development may allow consistency to trickle down into the playing structure which, though it will certainly confuse spectators, should give the possibility of accumulating more league points in order to drive the club to safer climes in National One.

At the last time of asking Albanians got painfully close to beating the leaders and, though one can never predict any result in this marvellous league, Coventry will not have forgotten how narrow their 21-19 victory was at Woollams last September.

For this reason alone warning signs should now be flashing as the Midlanders can be expected to start with a bang to try to ensure a sufficient cushion develops between themselves and those who gave them such a fright four months ago.

Next-to-bottom Albanians need not worry about this match since it could be said they have nothing to lose, playing against this most fancied of sides.

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But there is pride to play for and no Albanian player will take the field at Butts Park without optimism and firm belief in the art of the possible.