Park head coach Bonney confident of catching the league leaders

Unavailable for the weekend: Hugo Ellis will miss his first game of the season when Park travel to Cinderford this weekend     Picture: David Whittam

Unavailable for the weekend: Hugo Ellis will miss his first game of the season when Park travel to Cinderford this weekend Picture: David Whittam

First published in Sport Streatham Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

Rosslyn Park head coach Jan Bonney will be without three key players when they return to action in National League One tomorrow (Saturday) at Cinderford.

Back row Hugo Ellis, an ever-present this season after moving to Priory Lane from Newport Gwent Dragons in the summer, is on holiday – with Bonney’s blessing.

Tom Baldwin, also in the back row, has an ankle problem that will also keep him out of the Cinderford clash.

Despite the double set-back in the back row, Bonney has options with Harry Rowland, Luke Campbell and Will Bowley all available for selection.

Elsewhere, Dan Richmond suffered a broken arm in the draw with Ealing before the Christmas break and is a long-term absentee.

Craig McGrath is a likely replacement for Richmond after coming off the bench for the stricken hooker.

After the 16-16 draw with league leaders Ealing Trailfinders, where only a last-gasp penalty denied Park a fine victory, Bonney is confident ahead of the season’s resumption and that the seven-point gap between them and the top is easily surmountable.

“I was disappointed that we could not hold on to the win against Ealing, but having looked back at the video there are plenty of positives to take from the game,” he said.

“There were sloppy mistakes, but they were only small errors which can be rectified.

“We did not lose and we’re still in touch with the top. Cinderford will be tough, but Ealing play Macclesfield - who are fighting for their lives at the bottom – and I think the conditions will be a real leveller.

“There is a long way to go yet, we’re only just half way through the season so the gap to the top is not a major issue.”

The absence of the influential Ellis, who will be back for the visit of Cambridge next weekend, is something Bonney had planned for well ahead of Saturday.

He said: “This is the only time his partner can get a holiday and, to be fair, Hugo deserves his break.

“He has been great for us and while this forces our hand we knew we could not play him every game - no one can play every game - and we have ideas of how to reshuffle around his absence.”

Park’s match at Cinderford kicks off at 2.30pm.

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