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Ilkley urged to set new goals after promotion dream fades away
9:08am Thursday 7th March 2013 in Sport
Ilkley rugby coach Rhys Morgan will ask his players to pull up the drawbridge as they look to put their promotion disappointment behind them.
Defeat at York last Saturday leaves them 13 points back on Driffield with four games to go, effectively putting a top-two finish out of their reach, “You’ve got to be a realistic, it’s going to be a tough call now,” he said, “Saturday was a real make or break game for us and it was disappointing not to be able to get the win.
“It’s important we refocus and reassess new goals. We don’t like to be beaten at home, so we’ll be looking to pull up the drawbridge, win the rest of our games and see where we end up.
“You never know if a couple of results go our way, but we’ll be looking at getting above Wath and into third.”
Alongside the absences of line-out specialists John Hutchinson and Steve Burns, Ilkley lost captain Stuart Vincent and centre Craig Barker to injury early on.
“It was tough – a really key game of the season for us, and really you want to be firing on all cylinders.,” said Morgan.
“In the first half we only won about 30 per cent of our own ball, which meant we couldn’t catch and drive. That made a big difference.”
And there will be no let up with selection issues as Ilkley welcome relegation-threatened Barnsley to Stacks Field on Saturday.
Burns comes back in, but Hutchinson and fly-half Mike Cacchia are unavailable. Barker is likely to fill in for Cacchia as Morgan reshuffles his back line.
“He’s played there a lot and has done a great job for us at centre, but I’ve got no qualms about him moving in there,” said Morgan.
The Ilkley coach believes his men are poised for another tought game.
He said: “Ed Norris is a good player, I know him well, and we’ll have to be wary of him. They are a big unit, Mark Smith has come in and done his usual thing in making them very tough to beat.”