Richard Knight won’t allow a crippling injury list to be used as an excuse for a poor Underbank Rangers performance at National Conference League First Division rivals Shaw Cross Sharks tomorrow.
Having lost five more men during last weekend’s hard-fought 20-12 triumph at Milford Marlins to remain in the play-off mix, Bank boss Knight finished Wednesday’s training session with just 14 fit players.
Jordan Higo, Courtney Allette, Dan Farrand, Danny Bravo and Stephen Berry have all been added to the growing Underbank casualty list in the wake of the Milford clash.
As a result, some of the side that makes the short trip to Dewsbury will be taking to the field carrying knocks.
But with Australian duo Chris Druett and Mitchell Turner returning after a three-week travelling break, half-backs Luke Pogson and Josh Dixon working well and vastly-experienced quintet Dave Valentine, Mick Murphy, Craig Williams, Alex Chatterton and Kris Harrop ready to take the fight to the opposition, Knight still expects his battered and bruised team to emerge victorious.
“We’ve still got the quality and the experience to go out there and get the job done,” said Knight.
“If we were playing the team at the top of the table, it may have been difficult.
“But we’re up against a side who’ve had a tough season, and one we should be more than capable of beating, even with an injury-hit squad.
“I have complete faith in all the players that they will rise to the challenge, and I’d love to see some of our less experienced players stick their hands up and take a leading role in leading us to victory.
“The last thing I want to see is anyone looking to make excuses because we’ve got so many injuries.”
And Knight thinks the younger members of the squad, in particular, will relish playing against former Great Britain, St Helens and Giants star Lee Gilmour, who is ending his glittering playing career at the club where it all began as a junior.
“As you’d expect, Shaw Cross have been playing a lot better in the recent games. That’s when Lee’s started playing for them,” added Knight.
“So we know he’s going to have a strong influence on how they play against us.
“But I know how much my boys are relishing coming up against a player who has achieved so much in the professional game.
“The younger lads, in particular, will really enjoy that challenge.”