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No margin for error in Hunslet’s play-off bid

Hunslet's Lewis Reed.
Hunslet's Lewis Reed.
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THERE IS no margin for error in Hunslet’s fight for a play-off place.

Hunslet dropped to sixth in Betfred League One after a 36-16 home loss to leaders Bradford Bulls two days ago.

Hunslet coach Gary Thornton.

Hunslet coach Gary Thornton.

They are one of four teams on 22 points and eighth-placed Keighley are only two adrift.

The team finishing top of the table will be promoted with the sides from second to fifth playing off to join them in the Championship next year.

“A few results went against us,” said Hunslet coach Gary Thornton of the situation following round 17.

“Whitehaven beat Workington and that has put pressure on us. The next two games are massive, Doncaster and Keighley are chasing us down and they are who we play next.

Hunslet's Jack Lee.

Hunslet's Jack Lee.

“We’ve got to win those two and hope other results go our way, but it is still in our hands to an extent because we are playing the teams around us.

“We’ve still got Whitehaven to play and Newcastle, but we have got to get back to winning ways.

“If we can knock off Whitehaven, Doncaster and Keighley we will give ourselves a really good chance.”

Thornton felt Hunslet played better against Bradford than the scoreline suggests.

He said: “We played all right.

“We got beaten by a bit of extra quality and fitness, but we competed.

“I was a bit disappointed with the scoreline; it blew out a bit and didn’t really reflect our effort and skill level.

“But it’s hard against teams who can bring in Super League-quality players like James Green and are full-time.”

Thornton was pleased with Lewis Reed and fellow forwards Josh Tonks, Duane Straugheir and Aiden Hema. He added: “Jack Lee was really good at nine, he had one of his best games for us, but it is hard to single anyone out because we put a lot of effort into it.”

Gavin Duffy suffered a recurrence of a dead leg and will be assessed at training.

Thornton said: “I don’t think there’s any other major injuries and we should have some people back this week – Matty Nicholson, Zach Braham and Nathan Chappell – so we’re not too badly off.”