Sheffield Tigers have a point to prove as they take on Firwood Waterloo this weekend – with coach Thiu Barnard fielding a much-changed team to the one that lost 21-13 at home to the Liverpool outfit in October.
It is set to be a highly-contested affair as Tigers are third in National 3 North on 63 points after 17 games with Firwood just four points behind in fourth place.
However the Dore Moor club’s chief is confident of a good victory and has stressed that the players should play with confidence having won seven of their last eight games, whilst their opponents have won just four.
“I will be fielding my strongest team yet and it will be a completely different performance to when the sides last met,” he said.
“It’s been a selection headache with some new signings and players coming back, meaning about six changes being made and I expect to see great play on the pitch.
“We have a much better team atmosphere than early in the season and the players should play with freedom, especially the backs because we know we can play well because of recent results.
“I believe we have the best basic skills in the league and I want to see this against Firwood. They obviously won’t be a walk-over but if we play to our best ability we can get a crucial victory.”
Tigers have won an impressive 12 games in their league campaign so far, whilst losing five, and are unbeaten in their last three matches and although they are still in the race for promotion Thiu is realistic about their chances of moving up to National 2 North.
“Of course everybody would love that promotion but Sandal and Sale have opened up a bit of a gap at the top and we are relying on other results around us,” said the former Huddersfield second row.
“We have really picked our game up and are right in the mix but if we don’t get promoted if everybody has given everything then I will be happy.
“What I don’t want is excuses and ifs and buts come the end of the season – that isn’t an option for the players.”