By MARK BENGOECHEA
ESHER Director of Rugby Peter Winterbottom believes discipline will be key to Esher's hopes of a third straight league win at Bury St Edmunds on Saturday.
Winterbottom has been pleased with the Eees attack as they rattled up 115 points in thumping wins over Barnes and Dings Crusaders but is concerned by their defensive frailties with both opponents collecting try bonus points.
Now he hopes Esher can tighten up their defence in Suffolk and reduce the penalty count as they aim to keep in touch with the National League Two Division South pacesetters.
Bury have lost away games at Old Albanian and Clifton this season but recorded an emphatic eight-try 53-17 victory in their only home game against Westcliff a fortnight ago.
Winterbottom said: "Bury on their home pitch will be difficult to beat. They have a strong forward pack and some solid defenders in midfield, and I think for us to break them down is going to be hard.
"They like to play field position and we've got to give them nothing, be very disciplined, not give them easy yardage and not give away penalties.
"We've got to get our defence working properly and not give them opportunities to put us under pressure. That's key."
Esher are in fifth place in the table after three matches and Winterbottom is happy with the side's development. He said: "Overall, I'm pleased with the side's progress. They are ambitious and keen to improve. We started to get our attack together and at times looked very dangerous, we scored some good tries against Dings and it was very encouraging.
"Some of the guys who came in like Dan Rowland had a strong performance and all-round, it was very pleasing. But I was a little bit disappointed with some of our defence, the amount of points we leaked, and we'll be looking to shore up our defence and be a bit more difficult to score against.
"We want to improve in all aspects of our game. Although we pretty much dominated most of the game, we still shipped some 26 points so that's an area we have to tighten up. We have worked on it this week. Saturday will be a much more difficult proposition and we are going to have to be a bit more clinical."
The Eees have made three changes for the trip to Suffolk with Matt Lowes coming in at loosehead and Dan Lamb returning to the bench.
Jack Walsh reclaims the No9 jersey from Sam Bullock while Ben Davies starts at openside with skipper Charlie Gossington ruled out with a neck injury, so Tristan Roberts takes over the captaincy.
Winterbottom added: "Charlie has a neck problem that developed at training on Tuesday and he was off work on Wednesday. I don't know how long he's going to be out for. Tristan Roberts has taken over the captaincy but we're lucky we have got Ben Davies to come in who has been one of the outstanding players in the Cardinals."