HUDDERSFIELD head for Hull tomorrow looking for what would be only their second double of the season – but more importantly a much-needed win.
Coach Mark Sowerby’s charges have not added to their winning tally since the January 3 victory over Halifax, although in fairness they have had only three games since, with snow wrecking their two scheduled home games against Harrogate and Darlington Mowden Park.
“We’re basically just looking to get a game,” said a frustrated Sowerby, who is keen to see the team show the same sort of form they produced in the second half of the game against Caldy two weeks ago.
“We played some nice rugby in the second half at Caldy, throwing the ball about well, which really suits our style of play.
“Tomorrow’s game will be an interesting challenge. We beat them at Lockwood Park earlier in the season, when our skipper Mark Whitehead had a tremendous game and we got out of jail in the closing stages, having trailed by two scores at one point.
“I know both Ionians’ backs and forwards coach from my days at Wakefield and know what to expect from them, but having been inactive for a couple of weeks, and with little chance to train outdoors, I’m just hoping we are not too ring rusty.”
With winger Adam Sutcliffe still not fit following a knee injury suffered against Kendal, Sowerby again picks Alex Shaw to go on the opposite wing to Matt Johnson, leaving Ben Paxman to resume at full-back, a position he impressed in earlier in the season before a hand injury led to him missing several games.
When Field entertained Hull in November, they were undone by a 21-point haul from Chris Johnson, which included a try, three penalties, two conversions and a drop goal, and a non-stop grafting display from Whitehead who scored the crucial match-clinching try with seven minutes remaining to edge the contest 31-29.
One man Ionians will not be familiar with is South African Barry Jacobsz, who retains the No8 shirt ahead of Nick Sharpe, and who could be a key player against the Humberside outfit.
“It’s time we won a game. Tomorrow would be nice,” added Sowerby.
Hull are one place lower than Field in the table, having won one game fewer, although both teams share the same 33 points.
Huddersfield: Paxman (B), Shaw, Paxman (L), Mortimore, Johnson (M); Johnson (C), Clayton; Slater, Gough, Stringwell, Harris, Rhodes, Hinchliff, Whitehead, Jacobsz. Subs: Davies, McPhail, Hinchliffe, Sharpe, Sowerby.