STEVE McCORMACK has warned his on-the-rise side they will have to “step up all aspects of their game” to match York City Knights – but has not ruled out shocking the visitors.
McCormack’s Gloucestershire All Golds outfit have won both of their away games since the Scotland boss took charge a month ago, either side of a 30-22 home defeat to high-flying Oldham.
That form, plus McCormack’s ever-growing influence, suggests they will be a tough nut for the travelling Knights to crack tomorrow (3pm), especially considering a weaker side on paper ran York close in the first game of the season at Huntington Stadium before losing 26-16.
“We’re well aware that we have to step up in all aspects of our game against York,” said the one-time Salford head coach, who masterminded Swinton’s rise out of Championship One in 2011 and has taken both Whitehaven and Widnes to Grand Finals.
“Individually and collectively we have to be at our best against one of the best teams in the division, but I’ve been delighted with the players’ work ethic, attitude and commitment.”
Those two away victories came at London Skolars, 34-24, and South Wales, 38-36, and mean the expansion club sit fifth in the table.
The former was rated the Kingstone Press Performance of the Week, with Casey Canterbury, on loan from Hunslet, named Championship One Player of the Week. Canterbury will no doubt want to impress again tomorrow against his parent club’s arch-rivals.
Powerful prop Jack Francis and stand-off Ben White also made the latest Team of the Week, the former after a two-try man-of-the-match show in the Valleys.
White is on loan from Leeds Rhinos, while half-back Matt Bradley has also recently re-signed from the Skolars.
McCormack added: “Our form over the last few weeks has been very encouraging and this has been rewarded with some excellent performances.
“We are thoroughly looking forward to welcoming Gary Thornton and his players to the Prince of Wales Stadium.”
McCormack is tempted to stick with the 17 that edged the Scorpions, but Harry Chapman-Walker and Kiwi ace Sam Te’o, back available after concussion, are pushing for places.
There are two ex-All Golds in York’s ranks.
Ash Haynes, who played for the All Golds in that opening game of the season, is set to travel as 18th man. Pat Smith, who became a firm favourite at the POW Stadium while on loan from Sheffield last year, will start.
Smith said: “I am really looking forward to a tough encounter.
“They ran us close in the first game of the season, and with both teams coming off the back of good wins, it makes for a really competitive game.
“On a personal note, I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone after my loan spell last year.”
All Golds: (from) Danny Thomas, Jarrod Ward, Phil Cowburn, Aidan Jenkins, Scott Claridge, Ben White, Matt Bradley, James Walter, Craig Cook, Izaak Duffy, Miles Fairbank, Jason Muranka, Brendan Smith, Joe McClean, Casey Canterbury, Richard Jones, Jack Francis, Harry Chapman-Walker, Sam Te’o.