Props may change at Scunthorpe Rugby Union Club but you will always see the Mist
THOSE alongside him may change, but one thing in Scunthorpe Rugby Union Football Club's front row stays the same.
Hooker Gareth Mist has been an ever present for the Greens this season, but insists he has no preference who joins him in an ever-changing pack.
The 25-year-old was flanked by Richard Tomlinson and Guy Mychaijluk during Scunthorpe's last outing, a 17-16 success against Bournville just under a fortnight ago.
Yet the week before, he was joined by Al Fagan and Matt Probert in a front row praised for its physical power at Hinckley.
Availability and the Greens' game plan will determine who gets the nod when the men from Heslam Park head to bottom-of-the-table Derby this weekend.
But Mist says whoever gets the nod will ensure Scunthorpe stay a strong unit.
"Quite often we practice scrums in training with different players so you know how everyone likes to be set," he reasoned.
"You've got to adapt little things, but that's not too bad in the front row.
"As long as you know what each person likes to do, you make sure they are comfortable.
"Really there's no weakness there. Whoever comes in keeps the team as strong as it was before.
"I don't think the props like it. One of them has to go down to the second team, but on the flip side they'll sometimes get a full 80 which I don't think they expect.
"As players they've all got different strengths.
"Probes loves carrying the ball and can run over anyone, Tommo is technical in the scrum and Guy has come on leaps and bounds this year. He's probably played the most out of any of the props, which is good for him as it's his first season with the first team.
"Sometimes I disagree with the changes, when we've been dominant and we swap. But that's the game now.
"With the interchanges, you can blowout for 20 minutes and then bring the likes of Probe on, who's a real good addition to freshen things up.
"It doesn't matter who you're playing with, as long as you're playing. That's the main thing."
Scunthorpe will hope a break in the National Three Midlands fixture calendar last Saturday doesn't affect their rhythm ahead of their visit to one of their Notts, Lincs, and Derbyshire rivals.
A fringe team took Market Rasen in a friendly given the absence of competitive combat, but the Greens can ill-afford to be rusty when they come up against Level Five's whipping boys.
Derby have lost all 12 of their league games this season, conceding more than 500 points in process.
But having seen Scunthorpe squander a five-match winning run this time last year at opposition in the bottom three (Old Northamptonians) and also crash at bottom side Manchester in their penultimate game of the last campaign, Mist is experienced enough to know there are no gimmies.
"Everyone will expect that as Derby haven't won a game, we should go there and win. It's a bit of a no-win situation for us in that sense," said the forward.
"But it will be tough – because every game is.
"You can see that this season, with teams like Broadstreet being up there, when they were down the bottom this season.
"They've upped their game, so we've got to up ours too. Year in, year out we've got to keep getting better.
"Derby will want to prove themselves because they haven't won a game.
"They've beaten us a couple of times in the past, at a lower level, at their place. They've always been good games.
"I don't know what it is, but you know in the warm-up some weeks whether things are going to click.
"We know if everything works in the warm-up, we're going to have a good start and we've been doing that this year. We've started well, which is unlike Scunthorpe.
"We have to make sure we keep that going."