Away form crucial to Diss’ hopes of nailing promotion

FRESH START: New Diss head coach Dave Smith (centre)  is hoping that his side improves upon their recent away form during the 2016/17 season. Picture: David Blake
FRESH START: New Diss head coach Dave Smith (centre) is hoping that his side improves upon their recent away form during the 2016/17 season. Picture: David Blake

Dave Smith has encouraged his Diss RFC side to improve results on the road in order to boost their chances of gaining promotion.

In finishing third in London League Two North East last term, Diss lost six times away from home, with their most recent triumph coming on January 2.

Smith expects his team to be in the promotion shake-up regardless, but conceded winning on their travels could be key.

“I am trying to be very diplomatic and am not looking any further than on a game-by-game basis,” said the ex-North Walsham player, who has succeeded Roger Coombs in the hotseat.

“I know that is a cliché, but that is the way we will be approaching it.

“But there is no doubt that to gain promotion you have to win home and away.

“Winning the majority of our away games puts us in with a better shout, but I believe we are too good not to be involved in the battle anyway.”

As far as reversing a run of form that saw Diss defeated in five straight away matches towards the back end of 2015/16, Smith believes the answer lies not just on the pitch, but also from a mental perspective.

As such, he wants the team to approach each game as if they were running out in front of a home crowd.

“We need to start ensuring that we carry out the same processes and systems away as we do at home,” he added.

“Basically, everything needs to be replicated and made to feel as though we are playing at home.

“It is a big physiological thing, but if we can tackle every game the same no matter where it is, it gives us a big advantage.”

Diss will open up the new campaign tomorrow at Rochford Hundred (3pm), where they lost 18-13 last November.

A host of new additions are in contention for the clash at Magnolia Farm, including the returning Steve Hipwell from Cambridge.

Chris Beaird and Alastair Abercrombie have also been brought back to the club, while Will and Ed Hudson — sons of the new forwards coach Stuart — may feature in the season-opener.