By D Whittle
Huddersfield take on Bradford & Bingley in a Yorkshire derby as they look to build on their table-topping form.
‘Field took top spot in National League Three North with victory over Beverley, as Rossendale suffered defeat against Sandal.
But Saturday’s visitors Bradford currently sit bottom of the division, at the half way point in the season and have lost their last four fixtures.
Huddersfield Manager Lee Paxman said: “We know from the game earlier this season we will need a strong performance to overcome our close neighbours.
“We all know league position in this division counts for nothing, especially in a local derby.
‘Field defeated Bradford at Wagon lane 15-39, but they had to come from behind to win in their first away game of the season.
In contrast to the Bees, ‘Field have won their last five outings, as they have been able to capitalise on Rossendale’s two successive defeats.
‘Field won in dramatic fashion last weekend at Beverley, as Giles Hetherington scored a last minute try to gift his team the points, in what could prove to be an extremely valuable win.
Paxman said: “We’ve played every team in the division and we are obviously delighted with how things have gone.
“We must thank Mark Sowerby and the lads at Sandal for the massive win against Rossendale last weekend. That coupled with our dramatic comeback means we currently sit top.
But despite the jubilation of celebrating top spot, ‘Field are likely to miss Gareth Lewis for the rest of the season, as he broke his collar bone in the game against Beverley. But ‘Field will still be keen to ensure that he can use his injury to focus on coaching and adding all his experience from the bench.
The injury to Lewis means an opportunity presents itself for Bob Sykes, who impressed in his substitute appearance and is rewarded with his first start for the senior team.
Paxman said: “We all wish Gareth the best of luck with his recovery, but as with all things, one person’s misfortune presents an opportunity for another and everyone especially Gareth is looking forward to see his contribution.”
This means that Ross Thornton moves back up to the bench and after solid performances against Sandal, Westoe and Waterloo, he could feel unlucky not to be starting.
Joining Thornton on the bench is William Brian who made a solid impact against Beverley. ‘Field hopes that Brian continues to settle at Lockwood Park and that he further impresses on the field, as well as maintaining his good work coaching on a Sunday.
But it is not only the first team that is going from strength to strength, the academy had a massive win last Sunday as they shut out top of the league Guisborough 26-0. They are currently second in the league and are continuing to grow as a team. ‘Field will hope that the continued hard work from the players and the coaches Jonathan Prescott and Bob Heppleston will lead to further victories and providing the first team with future players. ‘Field will be keen to see how Jordan Higo continues to impress, as he was rewarded with a cap for the Yorkshire U19’s two weeks ago.
First XV to play Bradford & Bingley
1. Alex Battye
2. Ben Morrill
3. Anthony Stringwell
4. Gavin Rhodes
5. Gareth Lewis Jr
6. Robert Sykes
7. Ben Hoyle
8. Nick Sharpe (c)
9. Joel Hinchliffe
10. Giles Hetherington
11. Michael Clark
12. Tom Owen
13. Ben Mitchell
14. Elliot Hodgson
15. Tom Hodson
16. Nick Rhodes
17. Ross Thornton
18. William Brian