BATHURST '75 has been starved of Western Premier League match time over the past three weeks, and the question is whether that will leave them hungry or if it makes them rusty for this Saturday's upcoming game.
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They have a tough opponent in Dubbo Bulls to face after such a long time away from the field, though the home field support at Proctor Park could help to quickly spur '75 into action.
A washed-out fixture with Orange Waratahs and a bye last round has denied the Bathurst men the opportunity to try and build up any momentum after their crushing 8-1 win over Orange CYMS in their latest game.
Bathurst '75 coach Mark Comerford said the upcoming stretch of games will be a challenging run that will be sure to push both his team's stamina and skills, especially after a disrupted build up.
"We didn't train last week because the fields were closed. We've had training Thursday this week, but before that I hadn't seen anyone for a couple of weeks, but I'd feel that everyone's in a good state to play
"We've got a game this weekend, then the following weekend, and then the Thursday and Saturday. The next three games over a couple of weeks will be a little congested, and they'll be tough games as well.
"Bulls are playing really well at the moment, Barnies haven't lost a game since they went down to Waratahs and obviously Waratahs had a big win last weekend. That's three important games in a short space of time."
Bulls grounded out a tough 3-2 win over Parkes Cobras last round to extend their win streak to three games.
Their latest success has pushed the Dubbo side three points ahead of the now fourth-placed Bathurst '75, although Comerford's men still have two games in hand compared to Bulls.
Bulls sent out a warning shot with their recent 1-0 win over the previously unbeaten Panorama FC squad.
"They'll be dangerous. I don't think any of the top six or seven teams you could ever take lightly, and even the teams down the bottom show character and desire to play better and to test themselves against the teams at the top," Comerford said.
"They're the only team this season that's beaten Panorama, and they did that at Bathurst as well. They'll come here when plenty of confidence that they can travel and win again.
"I watched their game against Panorama, who weren't without their chances to get a point out of that game. They didn't take those chances, for one reason or another, and Bulls toiled away for the whole game. They'll be hard to overcome.
"We haven't trained and played for a couple of weeks so we need to get back into the swing of it quickly. I know we'll be fresh but when you're doing nothing you've got to get touch and feel back on the ball. It'll be a challenge.
"We need to get back into the football that we played against Orange CYMS. We have to remember to be patient though when we haven't kicked a ball for a couple of weeks."
Kick-off at Proctor Park between '75 and Bulls will now be at the earlier time of 3pm.
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