RHYS Morgan has called on his side not to get cut too much adrift at the bottom of the North Premier as they aim to stop the rot this weekend.

The Stacks Field side entertain one of their relegation rivals on Saturday, third-from-bottom Morpeth. This follows Ilkley's 36-18 defeat at second-placed Blaydon in Newcastle-upon-Tyne last Saturday.

After Saturday's clash, Ilkley have just three games to stop the early season rot before the traditional mid-season break for Christmas.

Ilkley are rooted to the bottom of the table, on just six points with one victory all season, with has opened up a seven-point gap to second-from-bottom Rossendale, who Ilkley entertain on Saturday, November 30.

Morgan has targeted maximum points from the upcoming home double header, adding it could be a crucial seven days in his team's season.

He also says he was encouraged by the Blaydon game, which he judged as Ilkley's best performance of the campaign.

The Ilkley head of rugby said: "We still have a chance, it is a game at home.

"If we win the next two games, we will stick in there. Lose the next two and we will drift a bit. If we don't pick up these wins it's going to be tough.

"We're not hiding from it. We have had 22 players leave us over the last two years. It has not been a failure to retain these players. The club has produced players now playing at a higher level elsewhere. That's successful ultimately.

"We are all working really hard. We've had over 20 players coming into the club this year. The lads are not quite up to speed with this league, but they will be.

"We've just got to go out there and play some of the rugby we know we can. Then we will have a chance.

"Every game we have is massive. We want to try to get back in touch by Christmas.

"The attitude of the players is fantastic. We're not giving in. Eddie King is available for us on Saturday."

"We have some very good players that will come good for Ilkley. A lot of our lads have work, family and university commitments and they miss games. We need to take that on the chin. That's how it is."

Morgan added Ilkley were well in the game against Blaydon until the last 10 minutes of the contest.

He added: "I thought we played really well against Blaydon.

"The game was neck and neck until the last 10 minutes. An 18-point difference in the score is a couple of tries and a kick. We had a couple of opportunities.

"We were really pleased. It was our best performance of the year. We were right in the game.

"We now have a decent forward pack. We have seen a massive progression in that area.

"We are playing some good rugby. We lost to a semi-professional team in Blaydon."