RECHARGED after a weekend free of action, Ilkley want to make a statement to the rest of the Northern Premier when they face Rossendale on Saturday.

That is the view of Ilkley's head of rugby Rhys Morgan, who says his battered and bruised squad welcomed a two-week break from playing but are ready for an action-packed run of fixtures until Christmas.

Ilkley, who were handed a weekend off due to a bye in the Yorkshire Cup, travel to ninth-placed Rossendale and Morgan has targeted a victory to give them momentum for the busy autumn period.

Ilkley are fifth in the table following three wins from their opening five games, including a 29-5 victory over Vale of Lune in their last game on September 29.

One of Ilkley's players gunning for a starting place is centre Chris Gemmell, who has recovered from a back injury.

Morgan said they want to get a scalp this weekend to further boost their confidence to continue their charge at the top of the table.

He said: "It was definitely weird having a free Saturday. It was very strange, but welcomed.

"We would normally have a Yorkshire Cup game but we received a bye.

"It came at a good time to have a little bit of a rest, we were ready for it.

"Before our break, we had one or two playing with bumps and bruises. It will have done them good to get a rest.

"At Ilkley, we judge our players' fitness as best we can. Rehab is very important and we will change training sessions to help them. Strength and conditioning are important.

"I'm looking forward to getting back to it.

"Rossendale have always had a top-of-the-table team. They have got lads in there who know their stuff. We always push them close.

"We want to go there and get a scalp. That's what we are aiming for. We are not just going there to make the numbers up and get a bonus point. We will go for it and try to get a notch on our belt.

"It will be tough at Rossendale but we have a strong enough squad to go there and take care of it.

"That would send out a message that we are not a mid-table team. We were disappointed with the Sandal result and the Billingham one. It sometimes just takes one decision and the game is lost. We will be hoping that the decision goes our way."