Stankevitch not underestimating Gateshead

Matt Barron serves the final game of his three-match suspension while Kevin Neighbour (knee) and Stephen Welton (bruised rib) are also missing for Thunder.

Gateshead director of rugby Chris Hood said: “We were much better last week against Workington. We still only put together 60 minutes, but thankfully it was the last 60 minutes.

“There were a few individual errors that led directly to tries, so you could have easily wiped off 24 of Workington’s points. We finished in the ascendancy and we were playing better rugby in the last quarter.”

He continued: “As long as we keep progressing, that’s all I can ask. We know the Blackpool game was a blip, but that game aside we’ve been getting more and more competitive. It’s generally just been individual errors that have cost us, and we’re working very hard to eradicate those errors.”

Damien Reid (knee) and Dale Bloomfield (dead leg) are both expected to play for Hornets, despite failing to finish Sunday’s clash with York.

Mark Hobson will return after an eight-week absence with a pulled groin while Andy Saywell is also available.

Rochdale coach John Stankevitch said: “We’re playing some really good stuff and it’s exciting to watch. Defensively we’re showing real signs of improvement.

“We’ll go to Gateshead with an open mind. We won’t be thinking that we’ll turn them over like Blackpool did. There’s nobody that arrogant in our side.

“We’ll go with a positive attitude that says we’re willing to work hard. We certainly won’t be underestimating them.”

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