Old Brodleians coach John Cole believes an escalating injury list is a bigger threat to his side’s Yorkshire One survival than any lack of ability within the club.
Brods host another of the top four clubs tomorrow, Ilkley, having suffered a third successive defeat when beaten 39-26 by leaders Driffield at Woodhead last week.
It was by no means a poor performance six days ago, but wins for the sides currently occupying the two relegation slots - Barnsley and Knottingley - left the third-from-bottom Brods sitting more uncomfortably.
Cole’s biggest concern was three more injuries to a squad which is constantly having to be replenished by the club’s excellent junior set-up, following the loss of numerous first team players in the last few seasons.
Winger Michael Briggs suffered a dislocated jaw last week while promising scrum half Dom Georgiou suffered a serious leg injury in the seconds and Jack Martin fractured a cheekbone.
With talisman forward Luke Scrimshaw out for the season with a shoulder injury and Danny Vento among the other players sidelined, Brods are starting to struggle to adequately fill the gaps.
Cole said: “The one thing that might cost us is injuries. Otherwise I would be confident of staying up.”
The coach said he was encouraged but what he saw in 80 per cent of the match against Driffield.
The forwards more than matched the bigger visitors in a fluctuating contest.
Brods dominated down the slope for the first 20 minutes and deserved more than a Rob Jennings try to show for their efforts, getting to the line on three further occasions without being able to ground the ball in the opening quarter.
Driffield drew level with a breakaway try on 26 minutes and then showed their attacking prowess, while exposing Brods’ defensive frailties, by surging into a 22-5 lead with three more tries plus a conversion.
Brods cut the deficit to three points with two tries in four minutes, forwards Lee Scrimshaw and Ryan Harris touching down and Danny Wood adding the conversions.
Driffield stretched into a 32-19 lead but prop Callum Thompson’s try, converted by Wood, got Brods back within striking distance and earned a losing bonus point for four tries.
However, a suicidal backs move in front of their own posts led to another Driffield try in added time and cost the Hipperholme side a losing bonus point.
Cole said: “It is very disappointing not to get two points. We would have probably settled for that, plus a good performance, before the game.
“To throw away a second bonus point was a bit of a crime but these things happen in the heat of the battle.”
Brods, who lost 47-7 at Ilkley on October 13, are without Ryan Harris and Jonny Lodge tomorrow. However, winger Eddie Carter and lock Matt Willis are expected to be back.