Preview: Bedford Blues at Stirling

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It’s fair to say that 2013 hasn’t started off in the best possible fashion for Bedford after defeat to London Scottish in the Championship last weekend, but the Blues will be looking to get the year back on track when they face Stirling in the British & Irish Cup on Saturday.

Having won four out of four and taking a bonus point from each Pool Two game so far, Bedford will want to continue their good form in the cup competition as they look to seal a quarter final place.

Looking ahead to the game, Blues backs coach Paul Larkin said: “Everyone was disappointed with the result last weekend, but that is in the past, the lads have been superb in training this week and everyone is champing at the bit to return to action.

“We’ve enjoyed a good run in the cup this season but we know that we need to perform for the full 80 minutes if we want to take anything from the game against Stirling who will certainly want to put in a big performance in front of their home fans.”

Bedford are close to a fully fit squad with only long term casualties Sacha Harding and Henry Staff unavailable. Ollie Dodge has recovered from the ankle injury which he picked up against Bristol two months ago and is starts at 13 in place of Brendan Burke while Ian Vass and Mark Kohler come in for Jake Sharp and Josh Bassett respectively. Up front Chris Locke, Ben Cooper, Gregor Gillanders, Tom Armes and Don Barrell all start in place of Neil Cochrane, Dan Seal, Ben Gulliver, Darren Fox and Paul Tupai.

Bedford Starting line-up:

15. James Pritchard (c)

14. James Stephenson

13. Ollie Dodge

12. Mark Atkinson

11. Mark Kohler

10. Ian Vass

9. Luke Baldwin

1. Ricky Reeves

2. Chris Locke

3. Ben Cooper

4. Mike Howard

5. Alex Rae

6. Gregor Gillanders

7. Tom Armes

8. Don Barrell

Replacements: 16. Neil Cochrane, 17. Phil Boulton, 18. Darren Fearn, 19. Ben Gulliver, 20. Joe Vandermolen, 21. Ali Price, 22. Brendan Burke