ILKLEY'S Head of Rugby Rhys Morgan thinks the reason his side have had such a poor campaign is due to the number of players they have called upon.

The Dalesmen's season is all but over with them, sitting at the base of the North Premier table, 23 points from safety with only seven games remaining.

Morgan has been forced into selecting over 50 players this campaign with injuries, departures and work commitments all playing a part in his team's downfall.

The Ilkley chief believes making so many changes is not healthy for any squad and credits neighbours Otley for their support.

He said: "We have been working with young lads who are getting better and better as the week goes on and we have had our fair share of injuries on top of that.

"People like (Joe) Lowes and (Oli) Holtam have been out, we have just had a real tough time of it.

"We have had 26 debutants this season and I have used 52 players this year.

"We have had to use players from Otley when we can, we wouldn’t have survived without Otley this year.

"People are coming in on the day and they are not sure what we are doing meaning we don’t get that continuity.

"You put a team out for 12-13 consecutive games and things start to stick but for us every week it is a new name on the sheet and that is the problem.

"Players have left for work commitments, retired or gone on to play at a higher level.

"We have lost too many too quickly and it has been hard to steady the ship."

It was announced last week that RFU proposals could mean fewer teams in leagues and therefore less travel.

Morgan praised these ideas and thinks more supporters would be drawn to matches by adding that derby element.

He said: "It would certainly help if we were playing local teams, there would be bigger games.

"At the moment if we are playing Blaydon at home people don’t make the trip down because they are top of the league.

"If there is a local derby against Morley or Bradford & Bingley who are around us they might be more incline to come down.

"Less games means you can work hard to get a fit team, now it is just back to back rugby which is difficult to do with some squads."

Ilkley travel to Rossendale this weekend on the back of three defeats where they have been 'nilled' on each occasion.

Despite the losses, Morgan is pleased with his young players spirit to never give up.

He said: "It is another tough trip over to Rossendale. It is bleak at the best of times.

"We need to be in the game at half time which we haven't been in recent weeks.

"It is going to be another experience they can call on in the future. I can't praise them enough they are always up for it."