ETHAN FORD insists Plymouth Albion will not be underestimating National One’s bottom side Cinderford when they visit Dockham Road on Saturday.
Albion are flying high in fourth position having won nine of their last 10 matches, while Cinderford have only won three games all season.
However, the Forest of Dean side did make Albion work hard for a 27-15 win at Brickfields at the end of October and Ford, who hopes to be fully fit for this weekend after an ankle injury, says Plymouth will not be taking them lightly.
“They weren’t too bad when they came down here,” said Ford, who scored one of Albion’s tries in the game at Brickfields. “They haven’t done so well recently, but we are not going to underestimate them at all because in this competition anyone can beat anyone on their day, we’ve seen that in the last few weeks with a lot of teams having beaten the top teams.
“We are going to go into this like any other game. We have to be 100 per cent ready.”
Ford had been ever-present in Albion’s starting line-up until the Esher game on January 30. However, he was forced to miss that match in London due to ankle problem he picked up against Coventry the week before.
Ford, though, was fit enough to be on the bench last Saturday against Blaydon and is hoping he can return to the starting line-up this weekend.
“Hopefully, this weekend I will be back up to 100 per cent,” said the Australian, who had been only one of four players to have started all Albion’s league games prior to the Esher match.
“I did my best to try and be fit for it (the Esher game), but I couldn’t run properly.
“Records like that are always good to have, but you have to put your health first. When it came down to it the physios said it was probably best to have the week off. They are the professionals and you have to listen to them.
“I just went over on my ankle (against Coventry) and sprained it pretty good.
“It was a bit optimistic to try and play the week after. I did everything I could but it wasn’t right.”
Ford was disappointed he did miss Albion’s only dry game since mid-November.
“The boys all came back in on the Monday and said I would have loved the pitch there (at Esher),” said Ford. “But you can’t do anything about it.”
Ford certainly did not enjoy the conditions on Saturday against Blaydon, even though he only came on as a late replacement.
“I was on there for about 10 minutes and my fingers were numb,” he said.
“I have not found the cold too bad but the last few weeks it has got to me a little bit. The wind’s picked up and I think that’s what killing me at the moment.”
Ford may have been first choice all season, but is aware he is not guaranteed a starting place again, even if he is fully fit.
“There is plenty of competition for spots now, but that’s what you want in the squad – you want competition,” he said. “That’s what drives the squad to be better. To get back in the team you have to better yourself. That’s perfect, that’s what you want.”