Crunch match for Rams

DEWSBURY RAMS coach Lee Greenwood has warned of the threats they will face from an “unpredictable” Rochdale side in their crucial fixture this weekend.

The Hornets come to the Tetley’s Stadium on Sunday (kick-off 3pm) in bottom spot in the Championship table, with just one win to their name all season.

However, Dewsbury are in the relegation scrap as well after defeat to fellow strugglers Swinton two weeks ago, with only two points separating them from the drop zone.

Greenwood has said that the games against teams around the Rams in the table will be the most important in determining the outcome of the relegation battle. They are yet to play Rochdale this season after their clash on the opening weekend of the season was postponed. 

The Hornets return to West Yorkshire after seeing their losing run extended to 10 matches in all competitions by Batley last weekend.

However, they have a relatively new coach after Matt Calland’s appointment at the beginning of May, and he has brought in a number of new players from amateur side Rochdale Mayfield as well as loan additions from Super League. Greenwood is not underestimating the challenge his team face.

“Rochdale have got some threats to be fair to them, and they’re a bit unpredictable,” he said. “The new coach has come in and he’s doing a similar thing to what we’ve been doing.

“He’s realised his team wasn’t strong enough and he wasn’t happy with what he picked up. He’s brought a load of new players in, with the dual reg from Warrington, loan players coming in, guys from the amateur game, so they’re very unpredictable in what they’re going to show us.

“I’ve known Matt a long time and his teams will always score points. I know he’s working hard at bringing players in every single week, and I know he’s trying to work hard on the fitness because he was disappointed with the fitness levels.

“I expect them to get better as the season goes on, as he tries to get more people in and he’s got more weeks under his belt with them. We just hope that it takes a little bit longer before it starts kicking into gear.

“I’m confident that if both teams play to the best of their ability, we’ll win. More this week than any other, we need to concentrate on ourselves, while looking at where Rochdale can be good themselves.”

Dewsbury brought a four-match losing run to an end in the 1895 Cup last Sunday, gaining revenge on Swinton for their league reversal seven days earlier, and Greenwood says the victory came as a big relief.

“We just needed a win,” he said. “We were ready to get Dewsbury Celtic Under-7s in just to try and get a win!

“So we’re happy with that and we need to kick on now, and we want to win this week as well. Spirits will be a bit higher this week I’m hoping, the confidence was a bit low because we’d been losing games.

“We’ve got more spring in our step this week but the hard work has got to carry on. There’s a lot of frustration kicking about when you lose so the work continues, but there’s a bit more confidence to go with it.”

Greenwood also has more players available to him, with Joe Martin and Frazer Morris signing for Dewsbury until the end of the season. Martyn Reilly made a long-awaited return from an ACL injury last week, while other fringe players took their chance to impress.

“Martyn Reilly did well considering he hadn’t played for Dewsbury for a year, and I thought Lewis (Heckford) stepped in and did well, and he hadn’t played for us since pre-season,” said the Rams boss.

“Jode Sheriffe has been out of the team the last few weeks and I thought he stepped up, and Toby Richardson has had to bide his time a little bit playing on loan at Coventry to keep himself fit, and I thought he stepped up.”

Robbie Ward will sit out the Rochdale game as he serves the final part of a two-match suspension, while veteran half-back Paul Sykes is closing in on his return.

“He has been training, but it keeps flaring up after he’s trained so I’ll make sure he’s 100 per cent before coming back in,” said Greenwood. “That could be next week or could be the week after.”

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