Hunslet take ‘cup finals’ approach to Shield run-in

Gary Thornton.
Gary Thornton.
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HUNSLET ARE preparing to end their season with two ‘cup finals’.

They have already qualified for the Kingstone Press League One Shield decider ahead of tomorrow’s last league game against visitors London Skolars (3pm).

London lead the table, one point ahead of second-placed Hunslet and tomorrow’s victors will finish top and have home advantage in the final next Sunday.

Hunslet coach Gary Thornton admitted it is an unusual situation, but reckons his team are in pole position to lay a marker down for next week and ensure the decider is played on their turf.

“We can do ourselves a big favour if we can beat them convincingly this week,” he said.

“They would not be looking forward to coming back the week after, but we don’t want to go to London for the final.

“It is a strange scenario, but it is in our own hands.

“We have home advantage this week and we are two games away from what we set out to do at the start of this [Shield] competition.”

Skolars are on a club-record eight-game winning run.

Thornton is confident the Parksiders are good enough to beat them in successive weeks, but he warned: “They are tough opposition.

“They will be coming here fairly confident and they have already beaten us once this season.

“It will be the toughest game we’ve faced so far in this competition and we have to have the right mental approach.

“If we get that right we will be okay. If we play like we did for 60 minutes at Hemel last week for the full 80 I am sure we will be fine.

“We have been building up to this one for a few weeks, nearly everybody’s fit and healthy and we are looking forward to it.”

Hunslet will be without stand-off Shaun Roberts, who suffered a season-ending sternum injury in last week’s victory.

Roberts joined Hunslet in June on a short-term contract and Thornton said: “It is disappointing, he has been good.

“We will certainly be inviting him back next year, but other than Shaun we are in good shape.”