BOURNEMOUTH head coach Will Croker called for his charges to embrace the occasion as they face their biggest fixture of the campaign.

Lions make the trip to Dings Crusaders on Saturday for a top-of-the-table showdown in South West Premier.

Bristol-based Dings are 11 points clear at the summit but Croker knows a commanding victory over their high-flying opposition could blow the title race wide open.

He told the Daily Echo: “There will be a big expectation from their crowd for them to do well but we have to go there to enjoy it and thrive on the atmosphere.

“Dings are a big, historic club who draw from a fairly big pool of players.

“Having beaten us at home they will expect to win at their place but we have seen from results in recent weeks that the top of the table is getting tighter.

“We can go there knowing, if we put in a good performance and take the spoils, not only does it help us close the gap on Dings but it also gives us an opportunity to pull away and cement second.

“We should have beaten them last time and they do not hold any fear for us – we are not worried about them.”

Dings finished runners-up in the division last season but missed out on promotion after losing 55-5 in a play-off against Wimbledon.

“They were really disappointed with their play-off defeat,” added Croker

“Jason Forster was the coach who got them there and they sacked him – it takes some guts to sack the coach after he just got you to a play-off.

“They wanted to dial it up a notch and clearly that’s worked for them."

The fixture may also be the final game played by the hosts at Lockleaze with Dings yet to move to their new headquarters at Frenchay.

“They were meant to be on their 4G pitch by now but, for whatever reason, we have been told we are not going to be on that,” added the Bournemouth boss.

“We have learned how to win in the mud and their pitch is notoriously boggy. With the rain we have had, we are probably going to be facing another pudding.

“It actually stands us in good stead and we are looking forward to it.”

Bournemouth are set to monitor the fitness of Richard Sharp (neck) and Grant Hancox (dead leg).