Crunch time for Hunslet in bid to reach the play-offs

Gary Thornton
Gary Thornton
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HUNSLET ARE facing three must-win games, but boss Gary Thornton reckons they can tackle tomorrow’s tough assignment in Cumbria in confident mood.

The Parksiders are sixth in Betfred League One, one place outside the play-offs on points difference.

With the team immediately above them, Oldham, away to league leaders York City Knights tomorrow, a Hunslet win at seventh-placed Whitehaven (3pm) could edge them into the top-five.

“We can’t afford to lose this one,” admitted Thornton whose team overpowered London Skolars 48-12 last week and face Newcastle Thunder at home and Coventry Bears away in their final two matches.

“We can’t afford any more slip-ups.

“We are dependent on what other teams do, but we have to focus on what we can control and we need to win our three remaining games.”

We can’t afford any more slip-ups. We are dependent on what other teams do, but we have to focus on what we can control and we need to win our three remaining games.

Gary Thornton

Fixtures in Cumbria are notoriously difficult for West Yorkshire teams, but Thornton insisted he is encouraged by the way Hunslet have performed on the road this year.

“Our away form has been all right,” he reflected.

“We were good at Keighley and for large parts of the game at Workington.

“Oldham away was a great performance from us early in the season so we are reasonably confident, certainly from the way we played last week.

“We have got to take that confidence and execution into this week.

“It is never easy up there and we will have to be at our best, but I think we will be okay.”

Whitehaven are two points behind Hunslet, but a proposal to promote the top-two and include the sixth-placed side in the play-offs means they are still in the race.

“We’ve beaten them at home this season,” Thornton recalled.

“They are a good team and have been for a while. It is never an easy place to go, the travel has an effect and they are in a bit of form so they will be reasonably confident as well.

“We have got to execute like we did last week and get our enthusiasm levels right from the off, defend well and make sure we keep them away from our tryline.

“If we do the right things at the right time in the right areas of the field I am confident we’ll give ourselves every chance.”