Shanahan confident Albion can live up to expectation at home
Plymouth Albion's players want to make a statement in their first Championship home match against Moseley tonight (7.45pm).
That is the view of head coach James Shanahan, who is hoping his side can build on their 41-27 win over Jersey last Sunday.
Shanahan has warned his players and supporters not to expect an easy fixture against a Moseley side keen to bounce back from a poor start to the new campaign.
Whereas Albion opened with a five-try-to-two victory over Jersey at Exeter's Sandy Park, Moseley, who finished tenth last season, one place below Plymouth, slumped to a 42-24 defeat against Rotherham at Doncaster.
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"It is our first game at home and we do want to make a statement," said Shanahan. "We want to show what we are about this season.
"There is a good buzz around the club. The boys have trained really well this week and are looking forward to getting on the pitch."
Shanahan felt his team did not get the respect they probably deserved for their win over Jersey but he is aware that there will now be expectations on them to beat Moseley tonight.
"There are some expectations with it being our first home game of the season," Shanahan said. "But we can't take anything for granted, especially as we've had a day less to prepare.
"I watched the Rotherham versus Moseley game, our game and the Pirates-Bristol match and out of the six teams Rotherham looked the best side. Moseley did well to stay with them for as long as they did. Rotherham only pulled away late on.
"Moseley are a hard team to beat. They are always physical up front. They are always a team that everyone says is going to get relegated but they always stay in the Championship."
Albion have only played one afternoon of rugby at Brickfields since Shanahan took over as head coach from Nat Saumi this summer.
That was more than a month ago when they entertained Welsh side Aberavon and Exmouth in a pre-season double-header.
"That day we had a monsoon," said Shanahan. "The weather is supposed to be good this evening and, hopefully, it will be a good night. It should be an entertaining game."
Shanahan has made five personnel changes to his team. Ben Woods and Heath Stevens come in for their full league debuts, while Ruairi Cushion, Sam Matavesi and Gareth Evans return to the starting line-up. Dropping out of the side are Lewis Warner, who is injured, Pale Nonu, Paul Rowley, Ien Ascroft-Leigh and Davy McGregor.
The latter three are on the bench, along with Shanahan, Ben Rogers, Rob Langley and Louis Messer. Nonu is not in the home squad at all.
Albion are still without the injured Jamie Davies, Herbie Stupple, Lloyd Fairbrother, Tom Cowan-Dickie, Declan Cusack and Harrison Tovey.
Plymouth Albion: Elder, Bowen, Howley-Berridge, Stevens, Woods, Mugford, Cushion, Morton, Evans, Shields, Oakley (capt), Beukeboom, Matavesi, Grace, Stephen. Replacements: McGregor, Rogers, Ascroft-Leigh, Langley, Shanahan, Rowley, Messer.