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Match preview: York City Knights v Workington Town
JOINT-COACH Gary Charlton has told his Workington side they must take their chances more clinically to improve on an encouraging start to life in the Kingstone Press Championship.
Promoted Town lost narrowly to champions Sheffield a fortnight ago, having led by 14 points at half-time, before giving a powerful second-half display to see off Cumbrian rivals Barrow 38-10 last week.
They scored only four tries in their first three games of term but have since bagged 62 points in two, and Charlton is looking for more as they make the trek to injury-hit York confident of a third win in six outings – bolstered by the arrival of Aussie Kayle Connor, a former Brisbane Broncos academy back and Queensland Cup player.
Said Charlton: “We’ve had one blip, at Doncaster, but we’ve played pretty well in the rest of the games. We’ve got to learn to take our chances in this league. You give good sides an opportunity and they take them. We’ve got to take them too.
“We go into every game thinking we’ll win it. It will be tough – York can be a hard place to go and win – but hopefully if we play well we can come away with three points.
“York have dangerous players like most teams at this level. It boils down to how we defend. If we defend well we have a good chance of winning.”
Carl Forber will return after a two-week absence as James Coyle is unavailable due to personal reasons.
Town are poised to hand a debut to Connor, of whom big things are expected, after his arrival from South Wales Scorpions, for whom he did not play. He goes straight in at centre, pushing James Mossop out to the wing in place of Declan Hulme, one of few Widnes dual-reg players Worky have called on.
However, Charlton says they are unlikely to alter a winning side much.
Elliott Miller, who bagged 22 tries and the Championship One Young Player of the Year gong last year, well-regarded hooker Graeme Mattinson, and Dan Rooney all remain sidelined.
Mattinson, like Miller, is close to returning from off-season surgery but the form of former Seaton amateur Callum Phillips at acting-half – twice named in the Premier Sports team of the week – means Town are unlikely to rush him back.
Workington in focus
Last year: 3rd in Championship One.
Current league position: 7th.
Coaches: Gary Charlton and Martin Oglanby.
Town have experience in ex-Super League front-row pair Ewan Dowes and Jamie Thackray, ex-international winger Mark Calderwood and veteran performer Peter Lupton, though not many others in the squad will be widely known outside Cumbria.
As York have found out, there’s a notable difference between the Championship and Championship One and third place in the lower tier last year might not count for much in this division. However, Worky have made an encouraging start.
Squad for tomorrow (possible): Brett Carter, Jason Mossop, Kayle Connor, Andy Morris, Mark Calderwood, Peter Lupton, Carl Forber, Ewan Dowes, Callum Phillips, Jamie Thackray, Brett Phillips, Jarrad Stack, Karl Olstrum. Subs: from Kris Coward, Jamie Acton, Adam Walne, Marc Shackley, Graeme Mattinson, Elliott Miller.
One to watch: Aussie Jarrad Stack is often the pick of Town’s pack.
Partnership club: Widnes.
Season prediction: will be desperate to finish above Whitehaven but collecting points at home will be key if they are to consolidate in this tier, never mind outdo their fierce rivals.
Ground: Derwent Park.
Miles from York: 136.