ROSSENDALE PREVIEW

Table-topping Huddersfield meets former leaders Rossendale in a massive clash at the top of National League III North.

With Rossendale being one of only two sides to have beaten ‘Field this season, manager Lee Paxman knows just how important the game is to their title chances.

He said: “It’s a massive game against Rossendale. They’ve had a recent fall from the top still but they still pose a massive threat. They are one of only two sides to beat us this season and we need to make sure we put that right with a commanding performance”. 

But ‘Field are unbeaten away from home this season and have some testing trips on the horizon, starting with Rossendale on Saturday.

Paxman said: “We need to finish the season unbeaten. We’ve some very tough fixtures to get through and we know this away form is key to that success.

“With trips to Rossendale, Stockport and Westoe, we have three massive challenges to overcome but games we are looking forward too.” 

But ‘Field travel in confidence to Rossendale, having being able to rest players through their Yorkshire Cup duties and last week’s postponement, Field are fresh raring to go.

Coach Gareth Lewis said: “We’ve almost had a mid-season break for a few of the squad, we’re fresh, we’re ready and we we’re really ready to go”.

‘Field knows that the key to victory will be up front and having had a solid pack all season, they know they’re strong enough. 

With the weather being equally grim in the red rose county, ‘Field know that the pitch will be heavy, meaning they need to attack the game to grind out a result. 

With a long rest period for senior players to recover and rejuvenate themselves for the challenge ahead, Field will also hand debuts to new signings Gareth Richardson and to Dan Jeffrey, the latter of which has been selected to train with the Yorkshire U20s side.

Paxman said: “Dan’s selection clearly shows he has some real talent which we want to see coming off the bench”. 

“Joel is still first choice and has had a cracking season. His performances this season have been some of his best at the club and the competition for places has brought out the best in him.”

Paxman has been delighted his current number nines input this season, both on and away from game day.

“Joel adds a lot of input to training and has been a welcoming figure for all the new faces.

“Some lads would keep quiet, be a little distant and try to hold onto their shirt, but Joel has been the opposite. He loves the competition and since he has been down at Lockwood he has played his best rugby in such scenarios.” 

With the key battle being up front, Field will still be hoping that Hinchliffe will still be able to release the backline which at times has destroyed teams this season. 

A victory on Saturday would be another stride to the title and National League II North Rugby next season. 

Field side to play Rossendale:

1. Alex Battye
2. James Davies
3. Antony Stringwell
4. Nick Rhodes
5. Gavin Rhodes
6. Ross Thornton
7. Ben Hoyle
8. Nick Sharpe (c)
9. Joel Hinchliffe
10. Giles Hetherington
11. Oliver Scrimshaw
12. Tom Owen

13. Ben Mitchell
14. Elliot Hodgson
15. Tom Hodson

Subs:
16. Gareth Richardson
17. Dan Jeffrey
18. Henry Ward

KO 2:30pm

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