Gateshead seek to restore pride

Tom Wilson is unavailable for Gateshead Thunder as director of rugby Chris Hood plots a final flourish to a difficult year.

Hood said: “Getting to zero points is still our target. We’ve had a tough couple of weeks and we were very poor on Sunday, but the next three games are about restoring a bit of pride and continuing to fight.

“It’s also a window for the lads to show themselves to Richard (Pell, Gateshead’s 2011 coach) and fight for a contract for next season.”

Hood added: “I’m sure Martin Crompton will have Blackpool fired up. They’ll feel as though they’ve got a realistic chance to do something in the play-offs.

“But it’s our last home game of the season and I’m determined, as are the players, to thank the fans for all their support this year.”

Blackpool Panthers coach Crompton has no new injury concerns for the trip to the north east.

But he confirmed: “I’ll be rotating the squad again. I’m trying to keep it fresh ahead of the play-offs and keep the players on their toes.”

He added: “If I said I was happy with last week’s performance against London, I’d be lying. I was disappointed with the lack of urgency and effort in defence. We were fortunate to come away with the three points.”

Three months ago Blackpool thrashed Gateshead 132-0, but Crompton insists: “It was just a freak day.

“I’ve never seen anything like it, and I didn’t get any enjoyment out of it. I’m certain that Chris Hood has spoken to his players and they’ll make life very difficult for us.

“It’s a great motivator for them. They’ll want to prove a point to themselves.”