Top-spot chasing Ionians have perfect win incentive
HULL Ionians put their perfect start on the line at Birmingham and Solihull tomorrow knowing they could go top if they take maximum points.
Ionians haven't been top of the Division Two North table since beating Scunthorpe in their 2002/03 season opener, their first game at this level.
Ionians' coach Gary Pearce knows that is the perfect incentive for his side, who he feels are playing at 50 per cent of their potential.
Pearce's side made it four wins from four with a 31-15 home win against Westoe last weekend.
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But Pearce wants to see improvements to the way his side have been playing.
"We are playing below 50 per cent of how we could be playing," Pearce said.
"Our fitness is that good we should be playing better.
"We are not flashy, we are a hard working team. Last week we won without playing well and you can only do that for so long.
"Sooner or later you have to produce. We didn't underestimate Westoe but we tried to take the easy options at times.
"We showed flashes of what we can produce but we played too much off-the-cuff.
"There is a time to play like that later in the game when the opposition is tired.
"For the first half an hour I want us to win the arm wrestle and stick to the way we set out to play."
Pearce admits tomorrow's opponents are an unknown quantity for him.
They were relegated from National League One and have struggled, losing three of their first four games.
Pearce wants his players to keep their concentration for the duration of the match.
Two late tries in the closing stages against Westoe cost his side second place and Pearce doesn't want a repeat tomorrow.
"We'd have been second if we hadn't conceded those two late tries," Pearce said.
"The players looked at the scoreboard knowing the game was won with 39 minutes played.
"But the referee still had four minutes to add on.
"That was unacceptable and it left a bitter taste in my mouth. We must finish games off in style when we are winning."