Underbank Rangers coach Richard Knight has labelled tomorrow’s home National Conference League First Division clash against Ince Rose Bridge as ‘massive’, both on and off the field.
A victory for Knight’s side would take them one step closer to securing the League title and automatic promotion to the Premier Division for the very first time in the club’s history.
And if two more League points are collected, they will have been secured in their ‘On the Road’ fixture at Huddersfield RUFC’s Lockwood Park ground.
Bank have taken the decision to stage a clash at the Union venue because there’s a chance it could become their new home if the club are promoted to the top-flight of the amateur RL game.
There’s a big question mark hanging over their traditional Cross ground at Holmfirth as it is struggling to meet the facility criteria required for Premier Division membership.
Knight admits he’d love his club to play Premier fixtures at their traditional ground and hasn’t given up all hope of that being the case at this stage.
But he knows contingency plans need to put in place to make sure his club aren’t denied access to the elite amateur RL competition.
“Obviously, we’ve not secured promotion yet, but we do need to start thinking practically in case it does happen. We’ve certainly given ourselves the best possible chance,” said Knight, whose side has been at the top of the First Division table all season.
“League officials have been up to The Cross to see how far off we are from meeting the Premier League criteria. Clearly, improvements need to be made, and we’re looking into that.
“But we’ve also had to look at possible alternative venues, and Lockwood Park could be the solution. The facilities definitely come up to scratch.
“That’s why we’re moving this game there this weekend. It’ll give us the opportunity to see how much appetite there is for a potential switch; to see if we like the rugby union club and they like us.
“Our meetings with their officials have been extremely positive, but if we don’t attract many people to the game, then we may have to think again.
“But, on te eve of the fixture, we are feeling confident and looking forward to showcasing our talents to a wider audience.”
And Knight certainly believes the wide Lockwood Park will suit his side as they look to beat a Wigan-based opponent, whose form over the past month has been impressive.
“We were pretty lucky to beat Ince at their place the other month,” added Knight, who has injury doubts over top trio Billy Rogers (back), Craig Williams (leg) and Kris Harrop (shin), but still has a very strong squad at his disposal.
“We ended up winning by a couple of points, and that was after they missed a couple of late kicks at goal. So we got away with it that day, and we know they’ve also improved since then.
“Hopefully, that’ll mean there’s no complacency on our part this weekend, and we can put on a really decent show.
“We’re really looking forward to playing on what is a nice. wide pitch, because we’re more suited to that type of field. With our mobile set of forwards and speedy backs we’re set up perfectly to play an expansive game, and we’ve got to make sure we make the most of this on Saturday.
“I just hope a lot of people come out to support us, because we do believe we have an awful lot to offer.”
Kick-off is 2.30pm and the admission price is just £3.00 for adults, £1.50 concessions and free for Under 16s.