ROSSENDALE PREVIEW

By D Whittle

Nick Sharpe will play in Huddersfield’s top of the table clash against Rossendale despite his red card last weekend.  

A red card usually means a one week ban, but luckily for the ‘Field captain, the referee’s report concluded that two technical yellows was enough of a punishment.

Manager Lee Paxman said: “Nick Sharpe has been stressing all week, but has been given the all clear to play from the Yorkshire RFU.

Paxman will certainly be relieved to see Sharpe on his team sheet, as his side face the only unbeaten side in National League 3 North, Rossendale. 

He said: “Make no doubt about it, this is a massive game and something we are very excited about.

“Out of the other top sides in the division we have only played Sale FC. After that poor performance we know we have a point to prove.”

With Sale still being their only defeat this season, ‘Field have responded with three straight wins and are confident of stopping sharp Rossendale back line. 

Paxman said: “They have a very dynamic centre partnership and some sharp outside backs to finish things off. The 10 likes to play an expansive game and the 9 loves to dart around the rucks. 

“We have looked at our defensive patterns and feel we will be prepared for what they throw at us.

But ‘Field name a strong team to face the league leaders, as they welcome back Gavin Rhodes, Elliot Hodgson and Ben Mitchell to the starting 15. 

After impressing at Percy Park last weekend, Tom Van Rooyen has a place on the bench alongside Nick Rhodes and the returning Laurence Sanderson, who has been absent following a knee injury in September. 

Tom Owen is missing with a knee injury and is likely to miss a few more games in November, the full extent of the injury is still unknown. 

But ‘Field certainly have the quality to take the league leaders off their perch as they have shown in recent weeks.

“We have a number of key players, Tom Hodson’s performance will be very important, especially with the boot. Elliot Hodgson’s ability to return the ball from full back and the massive gains and work rate from Ben Morrill will all be key.

Paxman knows that the weather could play a crucial role in Saturdays clash. After another week of rain in Huddersfield, this war of the roses clash is expected to be a wet one, which will slow the visitors down to an extent. 

He said: “After a week of rain and we expect heavy conditions and a battle up front. We will look to squeeze the game and put them under pressure, and then we will see what they have got.”

Huddersfield’s Falcon side have a week off after their comprehensive 133-0 against a weakened Barnsley 2nd team. They return to action next weekend at Lockwood Park against league leaders Old Brodlians at Lockwood Park.

The A-Team are the current league leaders and they play Keighley 3rd XV this weekend. The strength in depth from the A-Team to the first team is continuing to grow as ‘Field will hope for another clean sweep from all three teams.

1. Alex Battye
2. Ben Morrill
3. Anthony Stringwell
4. Gavin Rhodes
5. George Hinchliff
6. Gareth Lewis
7. Ben Hoyle
8. Nick Sharpe (C)
9. Joel Hinchliffe
10. Tom Hodson
11. George Hunt
12. Michael Clark
13. Ben Mitchell
14. Jack Moon
15. Elliot Hodgson

Subs:
16. Laurence Sanderson
17. Nick Rhodes
18. Thomas Van Rooyen

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