HEAD coach Josh Mortimer is not surprised York Acorn ARLC are doing as well as they are - and is confident they can carry it on.

The Blue and Golds are chasing the National Conference League division one title, sitting second off the back of a seven-game winning run.

Mortimer had targeted a trio of wins against high-flying opponents to cement Acorn's title challenge and - with last weekend's 34-12 defeat of Wigan St Patrick's added to the previous Saturday's victory over Skirlaugh - the job is almost done.

On Saturday, Mortimer's men travel to fourth-placed Milford, who - when at home - have had the upper hand on Acorn, dropping just one point from the last five meetings between the sides in West Yorkshire.

Moreover, Mortimer reckons Milford are going to want to cause an upset and, like Featherstone Lions, are capable of roughing it up a bit - though this does not concern him.

Mortimer said: "I wouldn't say over the last few years the lads have felt confident going to Milford away.

"Last year we drew there but, other than that, I can't remember the last time we got anything there.

"But I've got the right personnel with the right mentality. The boys want it and when they want something, they go and get it.

"I'm going there wanting nothing but a win.

"We wanted to win three out of three, and that target is still on - but it's going to be tough this week at Milford.

"We want to carry that form on. We've got a four-point buffer to third. If we beat them, it could be six points and it's almost pressure off.

"Then the pressure goes Pilks' (table-toppers Pilkington Recs) way - they'll feel us chasing them.

"I think I've got boys with the right mentality.

"We've been absolutely leathering teams - defensively, we knocked the living daylights out of Wigan and Skirlaugh and if that physical challenge comes from Milford, I'm confident we've got the players to ride it and knock the living daylights out of them.

"If not, I'll find someone who will."

On Acorn's impressive run and what it could mean for their title hopes, Mortimer added: "It sounds daft but I think we've underachieved for a long time. We've been a team of good players that don't often collectively turn up.

"When I applied for the job, I said I want us to be a mid-table/play-offs premier division team - that's my three-year target.

"At the start of the season, when I asked them, the boys said they want to win the league.

"They believe they can, and to win the league you're going to need to win a lot of games. A seven- or eight-game winning streak is what's needed."

"Pilks have won eight games and we've got to be better than them - we didn't set a target to come second."

Nick Speck is a doubt for Saturday but Conor Page and Ryan Gallacher are back available.

In division three, Heworth will be looking to add to last week's 26-18 win at Oldham St Anne's when they host strugglers Hensingham. The Villagers have struggled with consistency this season, both in personnel and performances, but will be favourites for this one.

New Earswick All Blacks - who suffered their first defeat of this Yorkshire Men's League premier division season last week - visit Siddal Academy, while Acorn 'A' host Stainland Stags in division two.