York and Blackpool ready for crunch


York City Knights coach Dave Woods is preparing to name an unchanged squad after Luke Hardbottle recovered from a knee injury he sustained in last week’s defeat at Oldham.

Woods said: “Luke banged his knee, but he trained on Tuesday and he’s going to be OK for the weekend.”

The Knights went down 41-32 at Oldham, despite leading 18-16 at half time.

Woods said: “I thought we were unlucky not to get more out of it. We played pretty well, but we just didn’t execute a couple of things properly. In the second half we had four tries that we should have taken that we didn’t.”

He continued: “We played Blackpool a few weeks ago, so we know what to expect.

“They’re a tough side, they’re good in the forwards, they’ve got smart halves and a very good centre in (Casey) Mayberry. They’re going to come here and want to upset us.”

Woods has challenged his team to show their desire on Sunday afternoon.

“You’ve got to stay composed and stay in the game right to the end,” he said.

“After that, it’s about who is the most urgent for those 1 per-centers when the ball’s on the ground and so on. Who’s going to get there? Who’s going to put in that little bit extra?”

Blackpool Panthers coach Martin Crompton will check on Paul Anderson (thigh strain) before finalising his team selection.

Crompton said: “We’re one game away from a Grand Final, and that creates a lot of excitement and a lot of nerves. People can’t wait to get to the game on Sunday.

“We’ve been in a nice, relaxed mood so far in training. It’s about making sure the fellas compose themselves and are ready to turn up and perform on Sunday.”

The Panthers beat Rochdale 34-26 in last week’s elimination play-off, although Crompton is adamant his side can still improve.

Crompton said: “We played stop-start and we didn’t have much fluency, although we had a purple patch for 20 minutes like we did against Workington.

“I’d like us to maintain that for a longer period, but you’ve got to take into consideration what’s at stake. There’s always going to be a bit of edginess and nervousness at this stage of the season, but it’s about grabbing the opportunity that’s in front of us.”

He added: “I’ve watched York’s game against Oldham from last week. Dave Woods has got a dogged outfit and a big, physical team.

“It’s going to be a tough test for both teams, but we can only look after ourselves and make sure our own house is in order. I expect a very close tussle between two strong teams.”