Wilford aiming for a happy new year with Lions

Bournemouth Echo: LIONS BOSS: Budge Pountney LIONS BOSS: Budge Pountney

KEY player Frazer Wilford is hoping to banish the memories of a frustrating first half of the season – by helping Lions claim a morale-boosting start to 2014.

Wilford is set to feature when Bournemouth entertain Exmouth in a potentially pivotal National Two South basement battle at Chapel Gate on Saturday (2.30pm).

Bottom club Exmouth are the only team below Lions in the standings after a worrying 10-match losing run saw the Dorset outfit slide into the drop zone.

Hooker Wilford, a mainstay of the club’s front row in recent seasons, has been troubled by irritating injuries during the 2013-14 campaign.

But with Lions now in desperate need of an upturn in form and seven points from safety, Wilford is determined to boost the club’s survival bid and believes conditions may favour them during the run-in.

Wilford told the Daily Echo: “I have taken knocks to the ribs and my shoulder and I have had a couple of annoying, small injuries.

“I started the last game before Christmas but it was disappointing that little injuries put me out for two, three or four weeks.

“Losing is a habit and the Christmas break was an opportunity to go away, reassess and, hopefully, come back stronger.

“We play better on drier surfaces and know that positive results will come at the start and later in the season. Hopefully, we can get the wins now.”

Director of rugby Budge Pountney has suffered from heavily depleted resources in his first season at the helm and Wilford admits Lions are a work in progress.

He added: “A lot of the players that the team was built on are either injured, unavailable or they have decided to move on.

“We are going through a transitional period with new coaches.

“We have got to weather it and blood some new players, which will benefit the club in the long term.”

  • In Southern Counties South, Swanage & Wareham host Sherborne and Wimborne visit Trowbridge. Oakmeadians entertain Frome II in Dorset & Wilts One South, while Blandford host East Dorset.

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