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York City Knights play Hunslet in last game of season
BARRY EATON reckons it’s 50-50 on who finishes bottom of the Championship – but says his focus is more on next season than this.
Eaton’s Hunslet side – comprising no fewer than nine ex-York players – earned a bonus point against Dewsbury a fortnight ago to go above the Knights at the foot of the table and so come to Huntington Stadium tomorrow in the last game of the season needing a draw to avoid the wooden spoon.
Neither side will be relegated, though, due to a reshuffle of the Championships so pride is all that’s up for grabs.
Eaton said: “Whoever wins on Sunday will have earned enough points not to finish bottom. It’s not something I’ve been focusing on.
“We’re putting everything in place for next season and Sunday is another performance to go towards finishing the season in better shape than we started it. We’ve been doing that with recent performances.
“It’s 50-50 (as regards who are favourites). We had enough chances to win against Dewsbury and against Sheffield the week before.
“Ourselves and York have been in similar situations, having opportunities to be competitive and maybe falling away. There’s no outright favourites (tomorrow), although York have home advantage.”
Both York and Hunslet have endured horrendous injury problems this season. Among the latter’s are playmakers Danny Grimshaw and Danny Ratcliffe – more ex-Knights – who have missed most of the season.
Another of their former Knights will also not feature tomorrow, as Tommy Haughey, who quit York in April and returned to the Hawks, has a hip problem. Scott Watson or Steve Dooler, who himself has missed the last seven weeks, could return.
The other eight – Lee Mapals, who returned to rugby league this year, Luke Helliwell, Steve Lewis, Dave Clayton, John Oakes, David March, Joe McLocklan and Ryan Benjafield – are set to feature.
Eaton added: “They (the injury problems) are always going to make it difficult, particularly with our budget which is by far the lowest in the division.”
Knights: from Bush, Poutney, Pryce, Sutton, Ford, Garside, Elliott, Thorman, Sullivan, Lee, Brining, Carter, Aldous, Stubbs, Ellis, Smith, Davies, Freer, Esposito.
Hunslet: from Kain, Mapals, Nathaniel, Welham, Brickwood, Helliwell, Karalius, Lewis, Haigh, Menzies, Clayton, Oakes, March, McLocklan, Benjafield, Yates, Watson, Dooler.
Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven).
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