Diss face a demanding test when they host unbeaten Maidstone at Mackenders in the London and South East region semi-final of the RFU Intermediate Cup tomorrow (2.30pm).
Diss top London Two North East, and have won their last six games.
Maidstone top London Two South East, and are unbeaten in all competitions so far this season.
“The cup has been good for us,” says Diss head coach Roger Coombs. “It’s more relaxed and gives us the chance to try out a couple of players.”
The priority remains promotion, and in a tightly-contested division, with four points covering the top three teams, the pressure is on.
“Expectations at the club are getting more intense,” said Coombs. “The players feel it and that makes it harder for them to play flowing rugby.”
After a lengthy absence John Laurie returns to the back row and Ryan Carter, who scored two tries in the 20-17 derby win at Holt last week, starts at hooker.
In the three-quarters Jack Keppel moves into the centre and Josh Ludkin moves to full-back.
Jamie Burroughs returns after a two-week absence to add bite from the base of a dominant and commanding pack.
“We have been learning how to play without some of our best players,” said Coombs, who will be looking to strengthen the squad if promotion is achieved.
n Diss’ Xavier Valentine is in the Eastern Counties under-17 squad who meet Yorkshire at Cambridge on Sunday (11.30am).