UNDERBANK RANGERS coach Richard Knight believes the life and soul is back in the team as Dave Valentine returns to National Conference League Division III action at home to St Albans Centurions tomorrow (2.30).
The Huddersfield summer side may be fielding a slightly-depleted squad for their first League clash of the season at The Cross, but confidence remains high as they look to make amends and put the Hemel defeat behind them.
Prop forward Valentine makes a return after recovering from a couple of knocks that sidelined him for last week’s opener, and Knight believes this could be a telling factor in erasing the memory of the Hemel loss.
“Dave Valentine is really the life and soul of our team,” said Knight.
“He is a good talker, he works really hard and he also emphasises what we are looking for this weekend.
“Hopefully the sort of character that Dave is will rub off on the rest of the team and help raise their game.
“The ground will be wet and really slow due to the weather, so it is about taking that mentality and giving it your all.
“There’s no substitute for effort, and if everyone puts in the right attitude and 100 per cent on the field, then we should be able to do the job.”
Bank will enter the game with a weakened back line as injury means Leon Alexis-Bailey and Nick Briggs are both absent. Will Midgley also looks doubtful as he looks to recover from a shoulder problem.
Despite key absences, Knight knows his side’s defensive game is strong and there will be no repeat of the poor performance shown against the Stags.
“We may be struggling at the back without the likes Leon and Briggs,” added Knight. “But we have done quite a lot of work on our defensive game to improve our line-running and tackling which should work in our favour this week.”
Regardless of not coming away with three points in their opening game of the season, Knight is ready to trade another win for a strong display.
Bank came out of last week’s fixture six points shy of Hemel, but it was the display on the field that concerned the coach, not the result.
“Its not so much about winning and proving last week was just a blip, it’s about everyone getting back to their best and making improvements, both individually and as a team,” he continued.
“When we start to do that then the winning will come with it, so this week I’m focused on picking up our performance and making sure everyone is back to the same strength they were last season.”