Kingstone Press League 1 Preview: Oxford v Rochdale Hornets

Oxford coach Tim Rumford saw a marked improvement in his side’s performance against York City Knights last week.

“It’s been rough these last few weeks,” he said.

“The boys pulled out a real performance of desire and passion and showed character in spades, I’m really, really pleased with our group.

“We probably wished we could have put in a performance like that a little bit earlier but there are really promising signs from some people who are still learning, in terms of the professional game.

“To stand up against a team like York and have a real good go be in with a chance of winning with five or six minutes to go – other than win the game I couldn’t have been any more pleased.

“It’s another tough game this week but if we get the same level of application, passion and really play for each other, who knows what can happen?

“Gloucester’s win (over Newcastle Thunder) has probably given us a bit of a boost; it’s not an impossible feat for a northern team to fall to a southern team.

“Although there is a big gulf, we’ve got to tell out boys that every week is a new week and to take each game as it comes.”

There are doubts over centre Josh Nathaniel and forward Jordan Andrade for this week.

Rochdale Hornets beat North Wales Crusaders by just a point.

Coach Ian Talbot said: “It wasn’t the best performance by either team but when you’re playing your local rivals in what was a very big game, it’s not about the performance it’s about the result. We’re made up to come away with the two points.

“It’s going to be a tough one this week, we’re going to be a bit bruised and patched up after last week’s encounter. Oxford showed some of their quality by going to York and running them close, so we’ll look at them and come up with a plan which best suits this game.”

Forward Danny Bridge has a neck problem while wing Dale Bloomfield suffered a bad cut in the sending off incident.

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