Pressure is building on Hunslet RLFC admits Thornton

Gary Thornton.
Gary Thornton.
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NEW BOSS Gary Thornton admits the pressure is on Hunslet as they prepare for his first home game in charge.

The south Leeds side – who play host to York City Knights tomorrow (3pm) – are seventh in Kingstone Press League One, just two points clear of ninth-placed Newcastle Thunder.

The race for places in the Super-8s is hotting up and Thornton said: “We’ve probably put a bit of pressure on ourselves because of the situation we are in with five games remaining in the regular season.

“There’s a bit of added pressure certainly to win our home games. We need to be mindful of the fact our primary objective is to get into the top-eight and there are teams chasing us down – the likes of Workington, Newcastle, Oxford and London Skolars.

“It is quite critical we get into the top-eight, but we’ve got games coming up against some of the teams around us – York, London Skolars [away] and Newcastle [home] – and they are big games. We need to take points off the teams near us on the table. We want to finish as high as we can and if we can take points off teams like York and Newcastle it will help our cause.”

Hunslet have a bye next weekend before a trip to unbeaten league leaders Toronto Wolfpack.

Their other remaining fixture before the competition splits after 15 rounds is at home to third-bottom Coventry Bears.

Thornton – whose reign began with a narrow defeat at second-placed Barrow Raiders last week – is aware of the rivalry between Hunslet and York.

He was in charge of York when they finished top of Championship One in 2014, but were beaten by second-placed Hunslet in a play-off semi-final. He said: “These games are always feisty.

“They’ve had five straight wins, but we took some positives out of last Saturday. We’ve had a good review and looked at those and some things we need to improve. We have been trying to put that right in training, certainly on attack, but there were some good signs last week.”

Hunslet could give a debut to winger Michael Hayward who has joined them on a month’s loan after scoring six tries in 11 games for Batley Bulldogs this year.