DEWSBURY RAMS face two “cup finals” in the coming weeks as they fight against relegation, according to coach Lee Greenwood.
The Rams boss admitted his side are in a battle to avoid the drop after their defeat to closest rivals Batley at the Summer Bash last weekend.
Just three wins and a draw from their opening 13 matches mean that they sit in 10th place in the Championship, four points ahead of danger.
Their next two league fixtures are against sides below them in the table, with a trip to Swinton Lions on Sunday (kick-off 3pm) before a home tie with Rochdale Hornets two weeks later.
Greenwood believes that the Rams are engaged in a four-way battle as they approach the half-way point of his first season in charge.
“Even before (the Batley defeat), they were cup finals against Swinton and Rochdale,” he said.
“(It’s) Swinton, Rochdale, Barrow and ourselves probably now, that’s where it’s at. It’s going to be two from those four (going down).
“As disappointing as it is with some of these results, that’s how it is. When those teams play each other, it’s a big two points to get, as you saw with Swinton-Rochdale.
“That’s now a massive one for us next week and Swinton will really fancy that after their win.”
The Lions produced a stunning second-half comeback to defeat Rochdale 40-30 at the Summer Bash, putting them just a point behind Dewsbury ahead of this weekend’s meeting.
The Rams picked up the points with a 38-24 win in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, although they were edged out 29-28 on their last visit to Heywood Road last season.
After losing to the Bulldogs for the second time this season in Blackpool, Greenwood says it is his aim to bring the Rams up to Batley’s level.
“The couple of times we’ve played Batley have been a realistic measure of where we are at,” he said following the 30-14 loss.
“The overall scoreline – as disappointing as it is, and I’m hurting inside – for me, for where both teams are at, that is a fair reflection. We’re finding our feet.
“They’re probably a 12-to-14-point better team than we are and it’s my job to close that gap and put us on a par with them at least.”
Looking back on the game, he said: “It was always going to be a game of who can get the most attacking sets towards the opponents’ try line, and we made the first couple of mistakes while Batley maybe gave away one penalty in the whole (first) half.
“Credit to them, they came up with a game plan of completing (sets), kicking and chasing well and hoping for our mistakes, and we gave them (mistakes).
“I don’t think we were out of the game. At 10-4 we had a few chances to get over, and the key one is probably Adam Ryder when it looked for all the world like he was going to score. Fair play, that’s a right tackle,” he said of Sam Smeaton’s crunching try-saver.
“Then it was a turnover and on the very next set they’ve gone and scored theirs, which probably popped our balloons.
“That’s a Batley team which is three years in progress. They are better than us, but I’d like to think that over time we’ll start getting a lot closer than that.
“It takes time at clubs like Dewsbury, you’ve got to build properly, your retention and recruitment is massive. We’ve just got to go through that process.”