As you might expect, there really is only one story in town up at Barrow
This Sunday sees Bobbie Goulding's return to Spotland, but his magic seems to be taking its time to work as Barrow remain firmly anchored to the foot of the Championship.
|Do the maths: 3 + 4= 5 matches.|
There's no doubting Goulding's influence in Hornets' reverse fixture at Craven Park last month. Despite being described by one commentator as 'a water-carrier with a kicking game', his presence in two spells was sufficient to raise Barrow's game beyond the ordinary.
The Raiders come to Spotland on Sunday with Bobbie not only looking to get another one over his former club, but also smarting off the back of a derby defeat last week. Racing into a 12-nil lead after 15 minutes - and clinging to a 12-10 lead at the break - Barrow had a second half to forget. Shipping three tries in 12 minutes, left them scrapping for a bonus point as they eventually went down 30-18 to not-so-near Cumbrian neighbours Whitehaven to edge closer to the trapdoor.
Thankfully, though, Bobbie has a plan to change fortunes at the wrong end of the UK's longest cul-de-sac - and, by his own calculations, it'll take just three years to put things right.
Indeed, that's the length of contract extension that he's currently negotiating with Barrow Chairman David Sharpe. Quoted in the North West Evening Mail this week, Goulding said: " I love the club, it is going to be my team next year and for the next three years and we can only be positive. I want to build the club. I want stability in the place. I want to build the foundations of the club so that it can go forward for the next 20 years. The foundations have got to be solid. I might not be around when the cherry goes on top of the cake but if I can lay foundations, then I have done my job.”
We're not ordering the cake just yet…
In the Hornets camp, there's a bit of a spring in the step after last week's gutsy battering of Featherstone. Speaking on Ryan Millard's Championship Player of the Week award - and Hornets' Kingstone Press Performance of the Week award - Ian Talbot said: "Everything Ryan tried seemed to come off… he was the leader that we signed... he was back to his best on Sunday."
"The main thing was the way that result turned around our recent performances," Tol added. "We’d been looking forward to coming back home and playing on our own meadow, so to put such a spirited and complete performance together over 80 minutes was very pleasing."
Clearly, with games running out, wins are at an absolute premium, but winning is a habit and - as Ryan Millard said after the Fev game - that win means nothing is we can't back it up this week.
So let's get there on Sunday and do our bit.
Official RFL Preview
Rochdale Hornets coach Ian Talbot says there is “a buzz in the camp” after last week’s win over Featherstone Rovers.
Now Talbot wants to maintain the momentum by securing a win over Barrow Raiders on Sunday.
Talbot said: “I doubted the result with five minutes to go, but massive credit needs to go to our lads – they reacted positively and got themselves back in front when it mattered most.
“This game against Barrow is massive for both teams, and I’m sure it’ll be one Bobbie (Goulding) has marked down as ‘must win’.
“If we can get a good result and put ourselves five points clear of them, that’s great, but I’m looking at getting three points closer to Swinton rather than three away from the bottom.”
Stuart Littler and Dave Llewellyn will both be checked before Sunday’s game, but Tony Suffolk is available for the hosts.
Raiders coach Bobbie Goulding hopes to have Liam Campbell available, while Ben Karalius and Bradley Goulding are also expected to be pushing for places.
Coach Goulding is hoping for a big improvement on last week’s defeat against Whitehaven.
He said: “We just don’t know how to win football games. We just do not have the experience, the nous, or the intelligence.”