Royal aiming to ease title agony

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PRIDE and passion will be two of the key ingredients when big guns Royal Hotel and Elland Sports clash at Brighouse Town’s St Giles Road ground tomorrow (10.30).

The two clubs have very different agendas going into the game with Elland gunning for a treble after winning the Division One title boasting a 100 per cent record and also reaching the final of the League Cup.

Royal, meanwhile, are fresh from the disappointment of handing their championship crown to King Cross and will want to retain the trophy as well as keeping possession of the Senior Cup when they face Bowling Green on May 1.

Royal beat Elland 4-0 in the corresponding fixture last season as they went on to secure a superb treble. However, player-boss Andy Farrell knows that tomorrow’s game will be a different test altogether.

“We had a fantastic season last time and we were deserved winners in the final,“ said Farrell. “But this is a totally different game and to be honest I would be happy for us to go into it as underdogs.

“We have two games left to get something out of the campaign. We want to keep hold of some of the trophies we won last season.

“We have had a poor run of form in the league since Christmas so we are definitely going out to win.”

Farrell will pick from a strong squad although he has concerns over the goalkeeping position.

Chris Moroney is unavailable as he flies out to America tomorrow afternoon while back up keeper Matthew Wilson suffered a broken finger and has not played since Christmas but will be given a late fitness test. Rob Gerrard is also a doubt through work commitments.

Elland are struggling to name a bench having fallen foul of the league rules on player eligibility.

They also have a doubt over the vastly-experienced Michael Midwood, who picked up an ankle injury during last Tuesday’s comfortable 8-0 victory over Old Pond.

However, boss Nigel Dare is backing his side to overcome the problems and win through.

“We are confident, but not over confident, because of the way we have played this season.” said Dare. “We know we can give them a game and our players are really up for it in a big way.

“There is pressure because we are going for a treble but we have a good squad and we just hope they don’t freeze on the day.

“The league rules have hindered us but I am not grumbling about that.

“I just hope it turns out to be a good game.

“Last season in the final their experience took over in the second half and they ran away with it, but it will be a totally different game this year.

“We will be looking to press them from the off and hopefully that approach will work for us.”