Sheffield Tigers will be looking for revenge and a fifth consecutive league win against ninth-placed Wirral at home tomorrow after the fixture was postponed last weekend after the visitors refused to play on the Dore Moor pitch, despite two referees having inspected it and passed it fit to play.
Tigers are strong favourites having won 13 of their 18 games and losing just five, compared with Wirral’s seven wins and nine defeats, but in the reverse fixture in October the Sheffield side had to dig deep to came away with a hard-fought 30-20 win.
Head coach Thiu Barnard was disappointed with the cancellation of the fixture but stressed it will not affect the players’ form or the Dore Moor-based club’s push for promotion.
“Everybody was upset when Wirral pulled out at the last minute. There was a very thin layer of snow but the referees said it was fit to play on,” said the South African coach who took over last summer.
“But I’ve given the players very tough training this week to make up for not playing, especially looking at the defensive line.
“We must make home advantage pay because we did not play well against them at all last time round and we got sucked into playing the game at their level.
“We are confident but I want us to keep up that momentum. We’ve had a few additions to the club and so I want to see those players especially putting in good performances.”
Tigers are still in the hunt for promotion, seven points behind second placed Sandal and 16 points adrift of leaders Sale who have played an extra game, however they face the table leaders away, seventh placed Rossendale at home and fifth placed Cleckheaton away in their next three games: “We really are getting down to the busy end of things now and everybody has to give everything they have,” said Barnard.
“The next month will be the toughest run in we’ve had but I believe we have the right mentality and quality to get the results we need.”