ILKLEY head of rugby Rhys Morgan wants 2020 to bring a change in fortunes for his side, but dismissed any immediate talk of a great escape.

The Stacks Field side return to action after the three-week festive break rock bottom of North Premier on just six points, 12 points adrift of second-from-bottom Alnwick.

Ilkley now hope the new year sees them start to recover from this perilous position when they host ninth-placed Carlisle on Saturday (2.15pm kick-off).

Their last game saw them crash to a 41-7 defeat at Kirkby Lonsdale on December 14. This brought an end to a bleak first half of the season for Ilkley who lost 12 of their first 13 games and have a -247 points difference.

They now have 14 games to save their season, starting this weekend.

Morgan said: "It's been nice to have a break.

"I don't think any of our problems are going to go away just because we are in a new year.

"We still have issues with player's strength in depth, but we're in a better position with injuries. We have more players to choose from.

"We are hoping that we are going to be in a position not to have to beg, borrow and steal from Otley each week. It's normally right until the last minute that we have to do that. Hopefully that stress can go away.

"We still have a big challenge on our hands and we're on a big journey until the end of April.

"There have only been a couple of games where we have lost our way so far this season. Blackburn away in particular.

"Apart from that we have given everybody a decent game. We want to turn around some games now and get some decent results.

"For me, it would be fantastic if we can claw our way out.

"We just need to concentrate on Saturday and getting a performance in."

Morgan added his side need to target a victory over their Cumbrian opponents this weekend, saying there is still a strong bond between his squad.

He said: "We need to get a win and get some momentum.

"If we can pick up some wins it will keep the morale up.

"I'm not saying we will definitely get out of it this year, but if we can get some wins it will help us for the rest of the season and going into next year.

"The new year does bring a fresh start for us. We will try to bore away from it. Wins will help us going forward. The target is always the next game, the next week. That helps us get through the season.

"They are a good set of lads. Morale is unbelievable among them really. When we have travelled, we have taken six or seven extra lads with us.

"Everybody is sticking together and digging in, there is no splintering and no groups forming. That will see us through this season."