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York Acorn seek no slips on Milford's artificial surface
YORK ACORN ARLC will step into the unknown when they walk out at Milford tomorrow in National Conference League division one.
The Marlins play on a 3G pitch at their Kirkstall base and it will be the first time the Blue and Golds have played a match on an artificial surface – with coach Scott Rhodes adding his men haven’t been able to train on one either.
“They’ve been brilliant at home this year and their 3G pitch will be new to us,” he said of the Milford challenge.
“We will go there and give it our best shot. It’s the first time we will have played on 3G. We tried to get on the York College pitch and train there but it was booked.
“I’ve talked to a couple of lads from Skirlaugh who went there and they said a couple of the lads came away with a lot of burns but what can you do?
“You have to get on with it. They are a big team. They will be well up for it. They know what’s at stake and we need to go there and play well. Milford will be a very tough test.”
Milford are four points behind high-flying Acorn in division one, having played a game more, and Rhodes knows a victory could give his side vital breathing space in the promotion race, which could be crucial at the business end of the campaign.
With nine wins in ten matches, Acorn have made a flying start but, while delighted with their results, Rhodes is looking for more consistency.
“All we have to do is keeping winning,” he said.
“We have been up and down in our team selection. With it being a summer season, a lot of the lads have been going away. It has been pretty tough and is the reason for some of the inconsistent displays we are having.
“But it is good we are continuing to win games and we have had players in the reserve team who can step in. I think we have got good belief.
“We are a young team. We have only a couple of players who are over 25 – the age of the team is pretty low. I think that’s pretty good.
“It brings a new lease of life to the club and training has been of a high standard.
“We are not the biggest of sides but playing in the summer has helped us. We have got good pace and it helps to be on firmer pitches. There have been some pleasing performances.”
Acorn continue to be without Matthew Withers, who has ruptured knee ligaments and is expected to miss the rest of the season, while the game will also come too soon for Michael Embleton, who has nearly recovered from a torn hamstring.
But Adam Endersby is expected to return to the squad.
New Heworth coach Stuart Brown is settling in well to the role, said club spokesman Ken Sykes as the Villagers visit Shaw Cross Sharks in division two.
Heworth were beaten 76-6 at Elland last week and sit bottom of the table having not picked up a point from their opening ten games. Brown, previously a key player, and assistant-coach during previous boss Steve Pryce’s tenure, leads a reshuffled coaching team, and Sykes has been encouraged by the early signs – even if results have yet to turn.
“He’s doing really well,” he said. “Training sessions are going well and we are getting some good numbers. We are still having to make changes on match-days but there are quite a few teams fielding short numbers.
“It is tough. We will keep going and see it through. Shaw Cross aren’t far away from the top of the league and we will deal with it the best way we can. There won’t be any significant changes to the team from last week’s game.”