ROYAL Wootton Basset coach Alan Low believes injury-hit Banbury will pose a genuine threat to his side on Saturday as the South West One (East) play-off race goes up a gear.

Bassett’s win against Wimborne last weekend kept them in touch with second placed Old Centralians, while wins for play-off chasers Marlborough and Banbury kept the race for second wide open.

The title itself is a foregone conclusion, with Newbury Blues having won all 19 of their fixtures to date.

But with an additional promotion spot up for grabs – via the east-west play-off final – Low understands the importance of this weekend’s tie in Oxfordshire.

A win for the hosts could relegate Bassett to as low as fifth, while a win would have the opposite effect and lift them into second.

Taking all of the above into consideration, Low doesn’t expect Banbury to provide any freebies and insists returning players will boost their hunger for success.

He added: “It will be a huge game for Banbury at their place this weekend.

“They enter the game off the back of a strong performance against Oxford Harlequins.

“We know they have been a bit up and down with results, and they are in a similar boat to us concerning injuries.

“They’re getting a few players back so they will be stronger, and that will make it a good test for us.”

Bassett meanwhile will be without multiple players due to work commitments, which has forced Low to shuffle his pack ahead of Saturday’s crunch tie.

As he has done already this season, the Bassett boss won’t shy away from delving into his second team squad and youth players in order to freshen up his side’s attacking presence.

“We have a couple that can’t travel because of work commitments,” said Low.

“But that presents opportunity for some of our younger players to step up, and it will provide us with a good indicator to see where we are depth wise.”

Elsewhere in South West One (East), bottom club Swindon travel to Witney in search of desperately needed points if they are to avoid relegation.