WILL Croker is "quietly confident" his Bournemouth side will bounce back from opening-day defeat when they host Worthing Raiders this weekend.

Lions, who were well beaten 49-12 at Taunton in their first game back in National Two South, welcome Worthing on Saturday (3pm) for their first Chapel Gate game of the campaign.

And the south coast side will be looking to continue their dominance on home turf, unbeaten since October 2017.

“We are really looking forward to this encounter,” said Bournemouth director of rugby Croker.

“Worthing are a good team and they’re going to be hungry to add to last week’s success (27-20 against Old Redcliffians).”

Lions welcome back number eight Joe Rees, who missed out against Taunton.

But the excitement of his return is tempered by injury doubts throughout the side. The club captain will replace highly-rated youngster Ben Roberts - a try-scorer against Taunton - and centre Scott Chislett will have a late fitness test.

There is also concern over another of last week’s try-scorers, Freddie Gleadowe, who received the all clear after an x-ray on a suspected broken thumb and could feature.

Croker said: “Already this league is showing the attrition that we are going to have to get used to and absorb.

“But we can’t worry about the external factors. We’ve got a job to do.

“We’re putting out a really strong squad – a squad that are hungry to set the record straight and a squad that want to get points on the board, both in the game and also on the league table.

He added: “We’ve had a good week’s training and we’re quietly confident. I’m thoroughly looking forward to watching the boys run out at home for the first time this season.”

Bournemouth have not tasted defeat at home for nearly two years since losing to Dings in 2017.

“We’re proud of that record,” said Croker.

“The whole club has come together and made the home game experience something quite special."