Josh Bartlett - hat-trick man misses derby date
NEWBURY BLUES will be on guard against derby day dismay when they go into a clasic to versus bottom clash with everything to lose at Reading on Saturday.
On paper it is a shoe-in as second in the table Blues take on a Reading side already domed to the drop from South West One East, but it is a game that Newbury’s promotion chasers will not be taking for granted.
“It would be a big scalp for them and would give them massive confidence for next season,” said Blues head coach Lee Godoall, “and that makes it massive banana skin for us.
“We have to be right on top of our game.”
Blues will have to make changes for the trip to Sonning Lane and a 2.30pm kick-off. Full back Josh Bartlett, who ran in a hat-trick of tries in the win over Oxford Harlequins last week that took Blues into second place, misses out with a hamstring pull sustained in that fixture.
Centre Josh Love also misses out following a clash of head in the same game, and is being rested as a precaution while lock pair Kyle Doel and Jon Bastable may have to be replaced en bloc as Doel is unavailable and expectant father Bastable is awaiting a special delivery.
Cameron Golby-Barr and Anthony Hackett are added to the back line a strength and, said Goodall: “We still have an exciting side out which is capable of winning by 40 points, but it’s a question of applying the pressure to do that.”