BOSS Will Croker insisted Bournemouth’s stubbornness in defence had been the foundation for their impressive South West Premier campaign.

The league leaders have only conceded 175 points this season, at an average of just less than 12 per game.

The Chapel Gate outfit’s points against tally is one of the best in the country.

Only Northern Premier leaders Hull (157) and Championship table-toppers London Irish (154) have shipped fewer points in England’s top-five tiers – the latter having only played 10 games to Bournemouth’s 15.

Combined with an attacking flair that has yielded 571 points, Bournemouth’s points difference is a staggering 396.

Asked whether that statistic was a symbol of his team’s power, head coach Croker told the Daily Echo: “We have scored a lot of points.

“If you look back through the past few seasons, most of the sides who have won it have scored between 800 and 1,000. We are on target to do that.

“But the reason our points difference so strong is because of our defensive record.

“We are up there with having one of the best defences in the country, which is a testament to what the boys do on the training field.

“We are still under 200 points conceded, which, at this stage of the season, is incredible.”

Lions only managed a 10-point margin of victory when they triumphed 13-3 at Bracknell back in September.

With the 10th-place side on Saturday set to visit Bournemouth, Croker is eager for his high-flying troops to keep their foot on the pedal.

“We always struggle against Bracknell,” he added. “We have done over the past couple of seasons and it was a narrow win at their place.

“It was one of the few games where we didn’t get a bonus point.

“They are a decent team. They have Chris Hala'ufia who is a former London Irish number-eight and they have a good squad of players. They have a couple of good Fijians who play in their backs.

“They are always a threat and have some strange results. They will smash somebody one week and then lose the next.

“Without wanting to sound cliché, we just have to beat the guys who turn up in front of us. We feel comfortable in our game plan and comfortable in what we are trying to do.”

Scott Chislett is set to be available for Lions despite being forced off early on against Weston-super-Mare with a knee problem.

Joe Tarrant misses out through injury meaning Mike Davies comes in. Adam Higgins returns in place of Freddie Gleadowe, who is unavailable.