UNDERBANK RANGERS are ready for what they expect to be their toughest National Conference League Division III test so far.
Coach Richard Knight’s third-placed side head to unbeaten Blackbrook for a crucial top-four tussle.
Although their St Helens-based hosts are fifth in the League table, they have won nine out of nine and share the same number of points as Rangers, who have played two games more.
But with Underbank having beaten Coventry Bears 28-0 last weekend and with memories of their heartbreaking last-gasp Conference Trophy defeat at Premier big guns Wath Brow the week before still fresh in their minds, Knight is feeling in upbeat mood ahead of such a testing trip.
And that’s reinforced by the fact he has a full-strength squad at his disposal.
“The mood is really good,” said Knight, who was delighted with his side’s showing against the dangerous Bears.
“I think we played well against Coventry, and our defence was awesome. We had some problems with contact and ground work in the game against Wath Brow, so we worked hard on those in the week and that came to fruition as we didn’t concede a try.
“We were without our two first-choice half-backs, which meant we weren’t that great with ball in hand, but we will get that sorted for this week.
“We have everyone back who was missing last week, so we’re back to full strength. I have 24 players to pick from, which is good news for what we know is going to be a big challenge at Blackbrook.
“I don’t know much about them, apart from they are the only unbeaten team in the league and they knocked East Hull, who are a Premier Division side, out of the Conference Trophy.
“This is going to be the toughest game we’ve played, even taking into account the Wath Brow game. We came into this league to test ourselves and this will be one of those big tests.”
But Knight is confident is players will rise to the challenge.
“I honestly believe we were 60 seconds away from beating Wath Brow,” he added. “If we turn up on Saturday and play to our potential we’ll give ourselves a really good chance. We know we have what it takes to upset an unbeaten team.”