AFTER three successive League defeats, stuttering Huddersfield are desperate to get back on the winning track tomorrow when they entertain newly-promoted Westoe at Lockwood Park (3.00).
But the coaching staff know only too well how difficult it will be against the Tyne and Wear visitors, who are usually an uncompromising outfit and very difficult to score against.
In fact, the last time Huddersfield tackled Westoe during the 2007-8 season they failed to cross the whitewash both home and away, and on both occasions had to rely on the boot of Chris Johnson, who kicked two penalties and landed one drop goal in the 9-5 win at home and in the 10-9 defeat away.
“I hope Johnno (Chris Johnson) has his kicking boots on tomorrow, but I also hope we can win a bit more comfortably,” said director of rugby Mark Sowerby.
“But we are under no illusions and are fully expecting a physical challenge to say the least.
“It was disappointing last week at Rugby Lions as we lost our way in the mid-point of the game when we had two players sent to the sin-bin.
“This week we must improve our discipline. We have to focus on that as well as our defence.
“We also know we have to be tight round the edges, because that’s where Westoe are usually very strong.”
Huddersfield start with the same XV who began last week’s game at Rugby, the only change in the 20-strong squad coming on the bench, where Ben Paxman returns after a three-week injury lay-off after getting injured at Hull Ionians.
“It’s good that Ben is getting back to fitness, but we don’t want to risk him from the start after being out of action for the last two games,” added Sowerby.
That means young Tom Owen retains his place at full-back for a third successive game with Donovan van Vuuren (who scored a brace of tries last week) playing at centre, alongside Ben’s twin brother Lee.
There is nothing much to choose between the two sides in the League at the moment, with Westoe ninth and Huddersfield 10th, solely down to the visitors having seven bonus points, as opposed to the Lockwood Park club’s three.
In their favour, however, Huddersfield have scored more points and conceded less than Westoe and will be very keen to ensure that statistic remains unchanged tomorrow.
Huddersfield: Owen, Ryder, Van Vuuren, Paxman (L), Sutcliffe, Johnson, Clayton; Stringwell, Davies, Slater, Harris, Rhodes, Sharpe, Whitehead, Hyde. Subs: Battye, Entressengle, Lewis, Hinchliff, Paxman (B).