UNDERBANK Rangers will go into their toughest game of the Conference National season at The Cross tomorrow (2.30) lacking the services of several front-line players.
Welsh side Celtic Crusaders Colts have swept all before them in the competition this year, winning all five of their games so far and averaging over 50 points per game in the process.
Rangers proved with their battling display at home to a strong Bramley Buffaloes side last weekend that they are capable of mixing it with the competition’s top sides.
They outscored Bramley five tries to four in going down to a narrow 28-24 defeat that day.
But with several of Rangers’ top players from last Saturday’s side unavailable to face the Crusaders, tomorrow’s task could be even harder.
Jason Southwell, Dave Pawson, Scott Wilkinson and Tom Senior are missing this weekend, while Matt Lodge could have played his last game this year after being handed another overseas posting with the RAF.
And Bank joint coach Ritchie Hawkyard believes that could be a telling factor.
“The way we played against Bramley last week proves we’re heading in the right direction,” said Hawkyard, who shares the coaching role with Andy Boothroyd.
“Not only did we compete well against one of the top sides in the competition, we also felt bitterly disappointed we didn’t come away with the win.
“To score more tries than them is something we can be proud of, but when you do that you really expect to win the game.
“But we paid the price for some pretty poor discipline, and we know we can’t afford to do the same again against Celtic or else we’ll give ourselves very little chance.
“It’s disappointing that we’ll be without a couple of key players, but that can’t be helped. We’ll still field a team that should be very competitive.”