UNDERBANK coach Richard Knight has warned his National Conference League Division III title-challenging squad they are in for a tough battle tomorrow when Bramley come to The Cross (2.30).
The fixture is now been billed as the Homfirth-based club’s local derby following Dewsbury Celtic’s decision to switch leagues, and rivalry will be hot.
History between the two northern outfits has seen some title-deciding clashes as the Bramley dispatched of Bank in the 2009 Grand Final, with Rangers gaining their revenge the following year in the play-off semis.
This year the two meet in different runs of form as Bank sit at the top of the table, while the Buffaloes are outside the play-off spots in eighth.
But despite a stuttering start from the Leeds-based side, Knight is well aware of the threat they hold.
“Since I took over four years ago, they have always been the team to beat,” said the Bank boss. “We know it’s going to be tough and they have recruited well and have played three games, won one and lost two narrowly.
“They started pretty slow and from what I have heard they only got a training session together just before their first game but the week off last week would have helped them get some sessions in, so we are expecting a pretty tough game.”
Bank also looked to gain from the week off, and some key names will be returning to duty.
Adam Ryder is set to continue his streak as he nears four years without a proper break from playing competitive rugby.
His season debut for Bank following his return from Union action is accompanied by another boost as Craig Williams and Sam Housley are ready to come back to the Rangers fold.
Knight is happy with the progress made over recent weeks and admits his side a nearing full-strength and few injuries are not set to dampen the Holmfirth-side’s spirits.
“We are pretty much there; obviously we had last weekend off so we haven’t trained for a couple of weeks and they all look pretty fresh.
“I put them through their paces, they had a good run and they all seemed okay. We are just without Paul Horsfall who has still got a hamstring injury and Sam Dalby who is recovering from a broken jaw.”
Alex Chatterton remains sidelined through a sternum problem but the coach knows his players will need to be in the right frame of mind, as the league leaders remain the team to beat.
“It’s about everyone turning up with the right attitude to get the job done week in week out.
“We know it’s going to be tough because we finished top of the league last year and everyone wants to beat us.”
There will be a one-minute applause before the game to remember Bob Marsh, who has been involved with the club since the 1940s and recently passed away.