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Coventry head coach Alex Rae has identified the scrum as a critical area ahead of Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash with Ealing (Butts Park Arena, 2.30pm).

When the two clubs last met at Trailfinder Sports Ground in November Cov were in the midst of a front row injury crisis and their patched-up scrum which included a number of hastily-recruited loan players came under heavy pressure.

But things now look very different for the blue-and-whites, who have since added Adam Nicol and Vili Nairau to their squad in addition to restoring everyone else to full fitness.

As a result Cov will be without only ineligible Ealing long-term loanee Elliot Chilvers of their front row contingent this weekend so Rae is much happier with the current situation.

“Last time we played Ealing we went toe-to-toe for 40 minutes then faded in the second half, so we know how important it is that we’re at the top of our game and very physical for the whole 80 minutes,” he said.

“Our scrum wasn’t where it needed to be on the day and that gave them a window into the game which they capitalised on and that will be an important area again this week.

“Toby Trinder, Adam Nicol and Jordon Poole were outstanding in the set-piece at Doncaster last Saturday and we will need to be at that level again against Ealing this weekend.

“That good performance and win at Doncaster last Saturday certainly helped us with preparation for Saturday as everyone arrived on Monday with a spring in their step and the bumps and bruises feeling a bit less sore.”

Rae also noted that his opposite number Ben Ward has already identified the noisy home support as an area that may play an influential role in shaping Saturday’s clash.

“Ealing’s director of rugby has already referenced the Butts Park crowd and said they are expecting to have to play the crowd as well as our team,” he said.

“That’s brilliant to hear as it shows we are getting the kind of reputation that we want as a club and hopefully we will get a really big crowd again like we did for the home games with Nottingham and Cornish Pirates.

“It’s then up to us to get them involved in the match from minute one by starting on the front foot and being aggressive. That will get the supporters behind us and make it a fun day for everyone.

“We’ve obviously had a few slip-ups this season which the table shows but on our day when we get everything right we’re a handful for everyone in this league and that’s where we’ll be trying to be on Saturday.” Tickets for Coventry’s next Championship home game against Ealing on Saturday are here.