Thursday, 26 July 2012
Look Out Here Come: Whitehaven
Forget whatever other sporting events might be happening elsewhere in the country this weekend. The only game of any meaningful import takes place at Spotland where Hornets are on the verge of running down a fast-fading Whitehaven and relieving them of the fourth promotion spot.
And you can smell the fear from here.
Having been bent over by Barrow to the tune of 48-16 , Whitehaven coach Don Gailer reckons his team will '…come back stronger against promotion rivals Rochdale Hornets'.
But they didn't get a flogging by Barrow because they were the poorer team; oh no.
Gailer reckons it's because 'haven were 'rusty after 18 days without a match'. Er… right.
Reaching for a small onion, he said: “With six games left, no team should have to sit out two weeks and it hurt us really badly. You can prepare on the training field all you want, but there’s nothing like match fitness.”
Mate, if your team's not match fit with six games of the season remaining, have a look at yourself. And he's getting his excuses in early: “Three games in six-and-a-half-weeks hasn’t been an ideal preparation. But we just have to get on with it. You can do as much work as you want on the field but it doesn’t beat a battle. You can’t emulate match pressure on the training field.”
Well, he'll get as much pressure as he can handle on Sunday, as Hornets victory by 13 or more will see them leapfrog Whitehaven into fourth place and leave Gailer staring down the barrel of life in the League of (Slow) Death next season.
Unsurprisingly, Gailer is talking big talk to talk up his sides chances, big-style. Gazing in Churchilian fashion into a setting Cumbrian sun (maybe), he pledged “We will fight back. There’s no panic and with five games left we know what we can do.”
But there's one thing that Don and TLCRF80mins does agree on. This week he said, "All the games are huge from here on in – every one’s as big as the other" - and he's dead right.
That Hornets have clawed their way back into contention as the season comes to the boil is a fantastic feat - but the job's not over til it's over. This is the first of five cup-finals we have to win. And these are - let's face it - the only games that really matter this summer.
Sunday's game v Whitehaven is proudly sponsored by TLCRF80mins.