Sutton & Epsom head coach Jeff Parsons is keeping a cautious eye on the dropzone of London Division One South, but he insists the season is not all about survival.
Sutton returned to winning ways last weekend beating bottom club Staines 41-12 to keep themselves nine points above the relegation zone.
Parsons was boosted by the return from injury of Dave Cook, Warren Steyn and Mike Blakeburn, as well as James Bennett, who bagged two tries, after work commitments kept him out of action.
However, skipper Matt Whitaker remains out of action after picking up a concussion injury before Christmas.
Parsons said: “Not having played for five weeks, and some of the guys coming back from injury have not played for 10 weeks, it was nice to get the win, and for them to get time under their belt before we have to play one of the tougher teams in Wimbledon this weekend.
“We said we hoped for mid-table, it is very close there. It will only take another poor run and you’re close to that third drop place.
“But we are not about just survival, we want to test ourselves and see where we are in the pecking order. The lads are fully motivated by that.”
He added: “We’re a happy camp at the moment and we’re getting good numbers at training.
“The long break did give us the chance to get some of the players back who had been carrying knocks.
“Staines may be bottom of the table but they have been improving lately, they drew with Beckenham last time out.”
Ahead of the Staines win, Sutton had gone four games without success, so when Staines cancelled out a Sam Hurley penalty for an early 7-3 lead, Parsons could have been forgiven for thinking the worst.
However, a Sutton penalty try, converted by Hurley, had them back in front and when Staines were reduced to 14 men, Sutton took full advantage.
Shawn Renwick and James Bennett went over from mauls, and a Hurley conversion meant it was 22-7 at the break.
Before Staines struck again after the break, Bennett would run in for his second try, while Joe Ridgely and Frankie Murray also scored, and Hurley added four points with the boot.
Done and out: Staines feel the force of Sutton & Epsom