North Walsham will be keen to make statement against play-off hopefuls

Captain Ryan Oakes, who has been named North Walsham player of the month. Photo: Hywel Jones

Captain Ryan Oakes, who has been named North Walsham player of the month. Photo: Hywel Jones - Credit: Archant

North Walsham head across to Brentwood after their week off for what is likely to be as tough a game as their teams' respective positions in the league would suggest.

Brentwood are second in the table, two places above today's visitors.

The Essex side finished last season in third place, 14 points adrift of Tring, who made it into the play-offs but stumbled at the final hurdle – remaining in London One North the leaders have dominated with a flawless 20 wins from 20 outings record and look certain to be promoted.

With six games remaining Brentwood are 12 points adrift but could still be caught by Chingford, who, along with Tring they play in the final two weeks of the season, so will be determined to maintain the gap.

The Vikings sit fairly comfortably in fourth place, and while they have little prospect of getting into the play-offs – they are a dozen points behind Brentwood – they will, nonetheless, be looking to make a statement of their own.

In the game at Scottow the Vikings were knocked out of their stride by the early loss of skipper Ryan Oakes and the 18-3 defeat was largely due to a loss of continuity.

Recent games have shown how much the squad has matured and coach James Brooks has worked hard to ensure the players are able to keep their focus for the full 80 minutes.

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The lay-off will have helped any injuries to heal and prop Tim Weber should be back in the mix.

There is also news that Mark McCall is returning to training from a foot injury, although this match could be a week too soon for his recall.

Chris Godwin, who missed the 33-15 win over Fullerians a fortnight ago because of illness, is back so Oakes could return to the second row with Tom Knight, Ed Sampson and Mike Rouse competing for the final two slots up front.

With all the back line players available it is difficult to see where Brooks will make changes other than a simple rotation of couple of players.

The Raiders were due to return to league action after last week's cup game but unfortunately opponents Dereham are struggling with an acute player shortage and are unable to fulfil their remaining fixtures.

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