SCOTT RHODES has praised the form in York Acorn's second string - and reckons it can only bode well for his first team's promotion hopes.
The Blue and Golds finally got their first victory of the National Conference League first division campaign last week, just as the 'A' team were winning through to the Yorkshire Men's League's Forty-20 Cup final with a decisive 48-10 win over Oulton 'A'.
And, although head coach Rhodes expects to be without a few first-teamers on Saturday as his side take their new-found form to Milford Marlins (2.30pm) for a rearranged encounter, he is confident he will have plenty of able replacements to call up.
"The 'A' team are doing really well this year, which is great for the first team," he said.
"I can put players here and there and give them a chance to prove themselves in the first team. We're defending the Forty-20 Cup and they've only lost one game in that competition, against Skirlaugh 'A', and even that was last-minute stuff.
"They're doing really well and there are a lot of players wanting a game."
That might be particularly helpful this Saturday as first-teamers Joe Porter and Jordan Hyde are now unavailable for a fortnight and, with the club having initially been given a free weekend, Rhodes expects other players to have made alternative plans.
"Milford were in the Challenge Cup when we were supposed to play them so the league rearranged our game to this weekend," he explained. "It's not ideal because we will have a few out as they thought they had a free week, but what can you do?"
But he added: "We have Milford away and Ince Rose Bride at home in the next two weeks and the ideal is to pick up all four points.
"We did very well at Millom. We dominated in the pack, which we hadn't done previously this year, and it proves we can dominate teams in that area.
"Milford is tricky - they're coming off a heavy defeat by Normanton and will want to put that right - but if we play well in every game we will win every game. That's how confident I am in this squad. We just hadn't been consistent enough in our first few games."
Heworth have a free week in NCL division three so have arranged a friendly with North East Conference side Jarrow Vikings at Elmpark Way (2.30pm).
Villagers boss Tim Rumford has links with North East rugby league from his time as a coach at Gateshead Thunder, and Saturday's game was arranged via Andy Morris, who played for Thunder and is now with Jarrow, and who played a few times for Heworth at the back end of last season.
Rumford said: "We're still getting good numbers at training and it's important we keep playing games to keep people ticking over. Jarrow have no fixture either this weekend so Andy is bringing his team down for a game and a get-together."
Selby Warriors finally complete their relegation campaign in Pennine League division one as they go to Wyke (2.30pm).
Selby Warriors 'A' visit promotion-seeking Halton Moor Storm in division seven.
Championship division side New Earswick All Blacks have a weekend off.