fax have to stay focused

FAX caretaker coach Damian Ball had a simple message to the players ahead of their trip to Championship strugglers York tonight: Take nothing for granted.

Only Toulouse have a worse league record than the City Knights who were promoted via the play offs at the end of last season.

But Ball, himself a former York player, knows only too well how dangerous a side battling the drop can be.

“For us it is about building some momentum going into the play offs,” said Ball. “But this is the type of game that can trip you up.

“York are trying to stay in this division and that is why we have to treat them with a degree of caution. We can’t take anything for granted.

“We are looking to improve on last week’s performance and are heading in the right direction.”

York have the worst defensive record in the division having conceded 728 points in 18 matches.

But they have the ability to score as they showed when they posted 38 points at the Shay last month.

“If you ease off and don’t play to your defensive systems they have the players like Anthony Thackeray and Jon Pressley who can cause you problems,” said Ball.

Fax are still assessing the injury situation at the club although there are signs that things are starting to improve.

Jim Gannon (sternum) and Sean Penkywicz (medial ligament) will not feature at the Huntington Stadium but Ben Black is set to return after minor knee surgery.

Jon Goddard and Sam Barlow could return, although they will not be risked unnecessarily.

“It is still a little too soon for Jim and Sean,” said Ball. Jon and Sam are 50-50 and we will be monitoring them up to kick off.”

Chris Thorman could make a surprise return for York.

The former Huddersfield, Parramatta and Hull FC ace has been out with a broken thumb, but coach Dave Woods said: “Chris trained on Tuesday and came through OK. We’ll make a final decision on Thursday.”

Woods, who has been further boosted by the news that Kristian Brining has agreed a new two-year deal with the club, wants his squad to learn the lessons from their recent 76-38 defeat against Halifax.

Woods said: “We spoke about it on Tuesday night. Halifax embarrassed us at their place, and we were also embarrassed the last time we were on television.”

“We know how tough Halifax are, but we’ve got to learn from our last game with them and take advantage of that. We need to compete with them early on, and then lift that level and kick on as the game progresses.”