Player-coach Mark Whitehead is ready to send Huddersfield YMCA to National III North frontrunners Sale on Saturday knowing they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
The YM’s hopes of starting the New Year in style were shattered by a demoralising 24-8 home defeat to Wirral last weekend.
It was a result which hit the Laund Hill club hard, with few expecting to see such a lack-lustre performance, particularly when a win would have virtually guaranteed National III North status for next season with over a third of the season remaining.
But even though important utility forward Sam Hodge has been ruled out for a mandatory three-week period following a bout of concussion, Whitehead knows his side still possesses the ability to pull off a shock.
“Even though that Wirral result was such a tough one take there’s still no reason why we can’t go to Sale and win,” said Whitehead.
“We normally raise our game when we’re playing one of the top sides, and Sale definitely fall under that category.
“They’ve been one of the favourites for the title all season, but when they came to Laund Hill earlier in the season they just scraped a win by two points.
“So we know if we get back to producing our best form we can give them a real run for their money.
“I’m sure that apart from the 18 of us who are going across there to take part, no-one expects us to win, but we’re comfortable about that.
“It means there’s nothing for us to lose. All the pressure’s on Sale.
“Obviously it’s disappointing to be without Sam, who’s been a very consistent performer for us all season and would have done a great job for us off the bench.
“But we’ve still got the pack capable of providing a winning platform and showing one of the top sides that we can’t be taken for granted.”
Huddersfield YMCA: Wrafter, Hill, Moore, Bell, Housley, Dyke, Whitehead, Lumb; Wilson, Wood; Bentley, Van Rooyen, Ryder, Clarke; Stead. Subs: Watson, Robertson, Bulloch.