By MARK BENGOECHEA
ESHER Director of Rugby Peter Winterbottom says his players must be mentally tough at Old Redcliffians on Saturday if they are to notch up a third successive victory.
The Eees have failed to mount a promotion challenge in National League Two South this season with six defeats on their travels proving costly and leaving them in eighth position.
But they produced a fine display in their last trip on the road at Leicester Lions and backed that up with a derby victory over Sutton and Epsom at home last Saturday.
Old Redcliffians are in the middle of a relegation fight and have not won a league game since beating Barnes back in October. They have lost their last eight matches but pushed Esher all the way in the Molesey Road clash before going down 30-26.
Now Winterbottom warns the attitude of his Esher players must be spot-on if they are to claim another league double in Bristol. He said: "It's not going to be an easy game for us down there. They've got big forwards, they take the ball forward hard and, unless we are mentally up for it, we could have a long day at the office.
"They haven't been particularly successful this year, but they could be a dangerous side and we have got to get ourselves right mentally, and if we come away with any sort of win, I'll be pleased.
"In the first half of the season we had some very disappointing away losses and it was one of the main things we wanted to address. They will certainly be right up for the game; they'll have been targeting this game and for us it's very much about getting our mental approach right."
Winterbottom was pleased with his side's display on Saturday as they completed the double over local rivals Sutton, who are coached by former Esher chief Mike Schmid.
Winterbottom said: "I think Sutton made it very difficult for us, they had good periods of play. It was a local derby and they were always going to give it their best shot. But we stuck to our guns and in the end, it was a reasonably comfortable win, especially considering we butchered two tries in that second half."
Esher make just one change for the trip to Bristol with Sam Bullock reclaiming the No9 jersey from Jack Walsh, who is one of the replacements. Gaz Lewis and Lennox Anwanyu are also on the bench.