Head coach looking for his Diss side to be competitive

LOOKING AHEAD: Dave Smith wants Diss to have a season of consolidation at a higher level
LOOKING AHEAD: Dave Smith wants Diss to have a season of consolidation at a higher level

As Diss prepare for life in London League One North, head coach Dave Smith has revealed he would be happy with a season of consolidation.

The 2016/17 campaign was one to remember for The Blues, who after several near misses in recent years, managed to secure promotion.

However, with the standard of the opposition over the coming months likely to be enhanced, Smith would be happy to simply see his charges hold their own.

“This is my second season in charge and we had a plan in place to get up, which thankfully we completed,” said Smith.

“It was the right time to go up — the club was ready for it.

“Now we have to make sure we stay up. It will be about winning our home games and consolidating.

“Rugby is a much different animal to a few years ago and the league we are going in to is a strong one.

“It is a cliché, but we will be taking one game at a time and see where that takes us.

“Once we know we are safe, we can start building from there.”

The unavailability of players and cancellations has meant that Diss’ pre-season programme has been somewhat disrupted.

They head into tomorrow’s season-opener away at South Woodham Ferrers (3pm) without playing any friendly matches, but Smith is not duly concerned.

“The pre-season has been really good, even without playing any matches,” he added.

“We have got in a new strength and conditioning coach and that has made the training positive.

“There might not have been any matches, but training has been sharp and there is a lot of practice going on.

“The lads are not professional players — some of them are farmers and have demanding jobs and some have been on holiday.

“But there has been plenty of contact work in training. We know what we are capable of.”

In terms of incomings, Smith has opted to make limited changes to last season’s promotion-winning squad.

Aside from the return of Harry Gooderham from Bury St Edmunds, there have been no fresh arrivals at Mackenders over the summer.

A couple of new faces may be recruited over the coming weeks, but with Sean McClure set to be available once he returns from New Zealand in October, Smith is content with the options at his disposal.

“There was never any plans to rip up the squad and make wholesale changes,” he said.

“We have some very good players here that are capable of playing at the level we have reached — maybe even a bit higher.

“There may be one or two more come in, but not many.”