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Knights boss Gary Thornton braced for dramatic climax to season
GARY THORNTON reckons there will be more twists and turns in the Kingstone Press Championship relegation dogfight before the season is out.
Thornton’s York City Knights side, once eyeing the play-offs, tumbled to the foot of the table on Sunday after their defeat at Swinton Lions was followed by a victory for Hunslet Hawks over Workington, both Swinton and Hunslet clambering above them.
The Hawks, whose rivalry with York has soared over the last few years, visit Huntington Stadium for another all-important six-pointer this Sunday, and, while outgoing Knights general manager Ian Wilson reckons anything other than victory would consign his side to the drop, Thornton preferred not to second guess what will happen.
Asked if defeat means doom, Thornton said: “I would never say that until it’s mathematically impossible. We’ve seen so many twists and turns this season that you don’t know what’s going to happen.
“If we lose we’re in the lap of the gods with the other games and needing other teams to mess up. But I will never throw the towel in – you have to keep going.
“Look at it this way – if we win, we could go up two or three places because our points-difference is better than teams above us. The first objective, though, is to win and get the three points.”
Wilson also reckons the Knights need eight points from their remaining four games to escape the drop.
But Thornton added: “I’m not sure if that’ll be accurate. We’ve seen so many teams doing unexpected things that it’s hard to calculate.
“It is a massive, massive game, though, there’s no doubt about that. The season boils down to these couple of weeks.
“We can’t determine what other teams do. What we have to do is get our house in order and win as many of these four games as we can.”
Earlier in the season, the Knights “drew a line” under a run of bad form and responded with important victories.
Thornton wants the same again now, to end a seven-match losing streak.
“There’s nothing to change greatly, we just need to do things better – execute plays better and support each other better,” he said.
“It’s not a case of making massive changes, but about being more clinical.
“Confidence is a bit of a factor. When you lose seven on the trot it’s bound to take a bump.
“We have to turn disappointment into a positive. It’s not a fitness or enthusiasm issue.
“Confidence is possibly an issue but we have to draw a line in the sand again and kick on for these four games. We have to make the most of them.”
Midweek trips to Workington and Doncaster follow Sunday’s match, before the season ends at home to Batley.
Thornton said: “Every game is a winnable game. Given where we are in the table there is added pressure. But we’ve beaten Workington, we’ve beaten Doncaster, we should have beaten Hunslet at their place. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t play with confidence.
“Hunslet will come into the game with just as much pressure.
“They’re in the same boat. They got that win over Workington so might come with a bit more confidence. But we can’t worry about them.
“We have to get back to the scenario where we’re playing well for each other.
“We’re capable of doing it, definitely.”
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