Sutton & Epsom RFC head coach gets prepared to go again

On the mend? Matt Whitaker has returned to training with Sutton & Epsom RFC

On the mend? Matt Whitaker has returned to training with Sutton & Epsom RFC

First published in Sport Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor

Sutton & Epsom coach Jeff Parsons has a target in mind for next season, but he admitted he is entering the unknown, yet again.

The Priory Lane club finished 10th in London Division One South last season, and this time round he is hoping to improve by at least three places to mid-table.

However, there have been so many changes at clubs up and down the table that Parsons is not sure what to expect.

He said: “If we can achieve a mid-table finish, we’d be happy. It is all about improving year on year.

“But in this league, you never know what you’re going to be up against.

“Nick Easter is the new director of rugby at Wimbledon and he has great experience, and the Ealing director of rugby has turned up at Cobham, and how many names will he have in his contacts book?

“So you never know what to expect until the season starts.”

Sutton’s pre-season got underway at Chichester on Saturday with a 35-5 defeat without skipper Matt Whitaker, who is still on the road to recovery.

The 26-year-old was knocked unconscious briefly during Sutton’s win over Chobham at the end of October, and subsequently suffered concussion.

He has tried numerous comebacks, only to suffer headaches and doctors have forced the number eight to take complete rest.

Now, almost 10 months later, it appears his wait for a return to action is almost over.

Parsons said: “Matt has had the all clear to train again, although we’re still waiting on the outcome of more scans to be 100 per cent sure.

“He’s had a few training sessions and suffered no headaches, so we’re all hoping he will be good to go. It’s unlikely to be in time for the start of the season, but we don’t really know.”

He added: “You cannot take a chance with a head injury. It’s not like a cracked rib or something like that.

“If there’s an underlying problem and he gets another knock, it could become very serious.”

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