Sean-Michael Stephen hails Plymouth Albion changes

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Skipper pleased with Albion changes

Plymouth Albion captain Sean-Michael Stephen says changes behind the scenes at the club have helped the squad.

Last season Albion had three head coaches - and almost went bust - after suffering financial problems.

"The club's done a really good job of making sure anyone's worries about possible off-field difficulties have been put to rest," he told BBC Sport.

"They've made some changes on the off-field side that have really helped the players," he added.

"They've gone the extra step to make sure there are fewer things that are on us and taking things off our plate so it's just about the rugby," the Canadian international added.

The club have had their first summer under head coach Nat Saumi, and Stephen says the Fijian has brought in some good changes to the way the side have prepared for the season.

"A lot of it's been about how the pre-season is scheduled and a bit about how we train.

"Things are generally a little bit more shorter and intense and concentrating on getting the most out of us while we're there."

Albion finished second-from-bottom of the Championship last season and survived relegation through the play-offs.

This season Stephen says the club must build and look to go up the table.

"The ambition is to definitely improve on last year, we'll take it one step at a time from there.

"We've got a better squad, a much deeper squad at every position, and I think we'll be in a better position to deal with injuries.

"We've put a goal on finishing in the top eight - the bottom four is where we've finished in the past few years and we really want to distance ourselves from the bottom of the league and start to move up the league in the next few seasons."

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