Plymouth Albion has high hopes for the new season

Plymouth Albion train for the new season Credit: ITV West Country

With the new season just days away we take a look at the prospects for Plymouth Albion.

The Championship side lost seven games on the bounce at the end of last season after being hit by injuries - but are pinning their hopes on a top six finish this time.

Their end of season form may on paper have looked very poor - and they didn't have a great record at home last season. But many of those losses were by less than a score and Plymouth Albion were praised by their fans for playing very attractive rugby last season. It's something coach James Shanahan has encouraged the team to work hard on in pre-season and with his tongue very firmly in his cheek says he'll be happy with a different look this year.

Albion really struggled with injuries during their final games. Player of the season, forward Rob Langley needed surgery to his shoulder in the close season but is due to be back fit in time for their first game at Doncaster Knights on Saturday. Shanahan has stengthened the squad over the summer, making a number of signings.

We do have a big injury list at the moment, unfortunately, so we're not getting a lot of luck there. But I'm hoping with the bigger squad, we've now got another physio on board as well - so two full time physios - I would hope with all those little improvements that we should be able to keep the squad fit and competitive still, and therefore not get into that slump come March/April time when really, if we've had a successful season, we want to be pushing for the top four then.

Plymouth Albion coach James Shanahan

Player and coach Ruairi Cushion says they need to pull out all the stops for their fans this season.

The players say they've formed a strong bond with the newcomers and are positive that that bodes well for a good start to the new season.

I think the new boys can't wait to get an opportunity to play in the league. It's going to be a really exciting time.

Rhys Oakley, player-coach

Albion are reading nothing into the fact that their first opponents Doncaster could only manage a draw with Welsh side Neath in preseason, while they roundly beat them. The fans can only hope that this positive preseason is the start of a turnaround for their side.