"IF we're going to get anything from it, we've got to be perfect."

So believes York Acorn ARLC coach Josh Mortimer ahead of his side's "huge" National Conference League division one meeting with high-flying rivals Featherstone Lions.

Saturday's game at Thanet Road looks like an intriguing contest. Not only are the sides second and third in the division, separated by only two points, but they have one win apiece from league and cup meetings this term - Fev beat Acorn 20-10 in the Challenge Cup fourth round in March before Acorn got their revenge in a 44-18 league victory a month later.

Fev have won all six games since that day - including inflicting on table-topping Pilkington Recs their only defeat of the season - and Mortimer reckons they will think they have the edge over his men.

But, with Milford and Skirlaugh, as well as the Lions, all just two points behind Acorn, the title-chasing Blue and Golds cannot afford to slip up.

Mortimer said: "Featherstone have put a good winning run together, and they've been beating teams well.

"We did a job on them at their place after they did a job on us.

"It's going to be huge.

"If we're going to get anything from it, we've got to be perfect.

"Based on form for the moment, you could argue they're the best team in the league. We've got to be at our best."

Last weekend, Acorn enjoyed an 18-12 victory at Myton Warriors - a triumph which goes some way to steadying the ship after back-to-back defeats in their previous two fixtures ended a seven-game league winning run.

Mortimer admitted the Blue and Golds were not on top form for that game, but that it was an improvement on their two preceding outings.

The former Acorn player hailed, in particular, the contributions of Jenson Okhovat off the bench, as well as Matthew Woods and Reece Rushworth.

"It was nowhere near our best performance of the year but we played with a lot of desire and aggression," he said.

"I can't knock the boys' effort - every one of them played with 100 per cent commitment, which is all I could ask for.

"If we had been smarter in key points in the game, we should have looked to win by 20 or 30 points.

"Featherstone will be a whole different ball game.

"We blew them away in the first half (of the 44-18 win) but lost the second half 18-16, and Fev could argue the first half was a blip and that they've got the beating of Acorn.

"They'll be coming supremely confident and we've got to rise to that challenge.

"Say we lost, they would go level on points with us - and fourth, fifth and six are only two points behind, with games they should win.

"For us, it's massive that we stay in front. We don't want to create a five-horse race."

Casualties from the Myton game Joe Budd (head) and Conor Page (cracked sternum) are among the seven absentees for Acorn.

Heworth, meanwhile, host second-placed Dewsbury Celtic in division three looking to continue their own good run.

New Earswick All Blacks entertain Bramley Buffaloes in the Yorkshire Men's League premier division and, in division two, Acorn 'A' visit Wakefield Hawks.