Coach Roxy Fearon says Derby RFC will fight to the end despite relegation
HEAD coach Roxy Fearon insists his Derby side will not be throwing in the towel following their early relegation from National League Three Midlands.
Last Saturday's 57-12 defeat at Bournville – a 19th consecutive league loss – confirmed their swift return to Midlands One East, with seven games still to play.
However, Fearon believes his team have plenty to play for as they start to prepare for next season.
"We're not going to give up," he said.
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"Our targets are to get that first win and to catch (second-from-bottom) Mansfield.
"They're small but realistic goals.
"We've got to get that winning habit back somehow. That's why the Mansfield game (on March 9) and the Derbyshire Cup are important to us.
"It can give us a bit of light at the end of the tunnel – and something for the lads to gain confidence from."
Tomorrow, Derby take on ninth-placed Broadstreet at the Ivor Preece Field in Coventry.
Broadstreet have won eight and lost 11 of their league fixtures so far.
Their match at Nuneaton was postponed last weekend.
When Derby hosted Broadstreet earlier in the season, they were only narrowly beaten 28-22.
"We will be up against another big set of forwards," said Fearon.
"We have shown that if we move the ball quickly and play at a good pace, we can compete.
"But if we allow the opposition to dictate the pace, we struggle.
"We've got to believe in ourselves. We've got the score skills – we just need to put ourselves in a position to use them. At the moment, we're not competing in games for long enough.
"I don't want to dress it up – we are where we are and we've got a lot of work to do.
"It's not going to be easy but we have to take our medicine."
Scrum half Phil Robinson, who came off the bench at Bournville, is unavailable tomorrow but Josh Tizard could be fit to return from a hand injury.
Fearon is waiting on the availability of Jake Roome, while centre Mikey Robertson (neck) is still out, so Colts captain Lewis Hancock could keep his place after making his senior league debut.
"Lewis did well," said Fearon. "He's got things to work on but he came out with a lot of credit.
"He moved the ball well and was involved in both our tries.
"Mikey has to rest his neck for a few weeks, so Lewis will get his chance again.
"He's got talent but just needs to wise up a bit.
"It's a harsh environment to learn in."
Fearon hinted at more changes elsewhere in the team.
"The seconds had a good win against Broadstreet last weekend and there are some players pushing for a place in the first team," he added.
"We need to shake things up a bit and give everybody a chance."