Wharfedale coach Jon Feeley has total belief in his players’ ability to bounce back from last Saturday’s shock 27-14 home SSE National League One defeat by Tynedale.
He said: “I think we will respond in the right way. I fully back the players to come back. I believe in this squad and expect them to answer their critics with a much better performance.
”This Saturday’s trip to Esher is the first of three matches against teams in the top five."
Rosslyn Park visit The Avenue on January 25 before Wharfedale go to Coventry a week later.
As his side prepared for the trek to Surrey, Feeley reflected on last week’s game.
He said: “In the first half against Tynedale it looked as if we believed in our own publicity and were not at the races.
“In the second half, we tried too hard and made uncharacteristic errors.
“A mix of issues culminated in our worst performance of the year. After the game the dressing room was silent.
“The players were devastated to lose at home and play that way. They didn’t need me to tell them.”
Like Wharfedale, ambitious Esher suffered a surprise defeat last weekend. They went down 31-8 at Old Albanians.
Wharfedale will be without second row Richard Rhodes, who injured an ankle against Tynedale. He will be sidelined for a couple of weeks so Josh Burridge, normally a flanker, takes his place at Esher.
Phil Woodhead and Dan Scarbrough return to the starting line up at scrum half and full back, taking over from Matt Dudman and Nick Taylor, who will be on the bench.
Jim Mason comes on to the bench in place of Chris Howick, who is unable to travel.
Otley are bidding for an SSE National League Two North double after their 31-27 victory at Cross Green in October.
Wharfedale (at Esher): Dan Scarbrough; Scott Jordan, Joe Donkin, Tom Davidson, Josh Prell; Tom Barrett, Philip Woodhead; Chris Steel (captain), Dan Stockdale, Jake Armstrong, Richard Brown, Josh Burridge, Jack Barnard, Aaron Myers, Rob Baldwin. Replacements: Neil Dickinson, Adam Howard, Jim Mason, Matt Dudman, Nick Taylor.