Rochdale Hornets v Swinton Lions
Sunday 9th July 2017, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 21
Stats over last 8 encounters
KILSHAW’S MEN FOCUSED AHEAD OF SWINTON CLASH
Rochdale Hornets host Swinton Lions at The Crown Oil Arena this Sunday in a crucial derby fixture, as the Championship nears the end of the regular season.
With just three games remaining only two points separate the four teams above basement club Bradford Bulls, with the Hornets sat in ninth position.
The Lions are one point behind in 11th, with the next three games vital in shaping each club’s destiny ahead of the Championship Shield.
Rochdale’s aim is to secure a top eight finish, something that will guarantee Alan Kilshaw’s men four home games out of seven in the second stage of the season.
They had the chance to strengthen their grip on eighth spot when they visited Dewsbury Rams last week, but instead they surrendered that place to their opponents on the day.
Despite a poor performance in the 40-10 defeat, the Hornets boss will be looking to build on positive showings in their two previous games.
“Every point matters at this stage of the season,” commented Kilshaw.
“The result has increased the pressure on us, but we have been under pressure since day one.
“The performance was unacceptable and the players know that, we have turned around our performances at home after Bradford and Batley so we will be looking to use that momentum this weekend.”
After 20 rounds he would have liked to have picked up more points in an ideal world, however if Rochdale can snatch back eighth spot then he will be delighted.
To do that though he will be looking for his players to focus on completions and keeping their discipline.
“I would have liked us to have a few more wins on the board, but look if we can finish eighth, which we have a chance to do after this first stage, then we will be happy,” he continued.
“We have had a tough period with some external factors contributing as well as injuries, however the performances against Oldham, Bradford and Batley show what were capable of when we complete sets and limit penalties.”
In the last meeting of these two sides, Swinton came out on top in controversial circumstances, as Jordan Hand was sin binned after a player was knocked out attempting to tackle him.
In the week following the referee’s coach admitted that the decision was not only wrong, but also should not have been a penalty as the defender’s head was in the wrong position.
With Jo Taira already off the field following a red card, Chris Atkin sent over a field-goal to secure a 23-22 win for the hosts.
Kilshaw insisted that they will not be using their previous encounter as motivation, and instead are focused on “the process” as they look to get the better of their local rivals.
“Last time won’t really come into our thinking.
“We have a lot of things to motivate us this week but we are focussed on the process, which means ripping in during training, preparing the best we can and then performing in a high pressure game.
“It’s tight at the bottom and it will be a cagey derby game.
“We know what to expect from Swinton, they are a very good side with the ball in hand so we need to limit their opportunities in good ball.”
The Hornets camp have been rocked by injury ahead of the derby clash, with Miles Greenwood, Lewis Palfrey and Gary Middlehurst all unavailable.
They could also be without Rob Massam, Jo Taira, Jono Smith and Gavin Bennion who are all doubts, while Lewis Galbraith will be serving the start of his suspension.
There will be a minute’s silence prior to kick-off in respect of Adam Cooper, the Culcheth Eagles Rugby League player who became unwell during a North West Mens League fixture against Runcorn last weekend and tragically passed away.