James wants Crocs to be at their clinical best

James Wainwright wants Old Crossleyans to rediscover their clinical attacking form in tomorrow’s home fixture with Middlesbrough.

Crocs snatched an 18-18 North East One draw at Sheffield last weekend in a third-versus-fourth encounter, a result that skipper Wainwright believes could and should have been better.

“We scored on the last play to get the draw, but we weren’t that happy with the result because we felt we should have won,” said Wainwright.

“We were on the attack for most of the second half and we had three or four chances to score that we didn’t take.

“I think if we’re honest, we haven’t been performing as well over the last two or three weeks as we had been before that.

“We’re still making opportunities, but we’ve not been as clinical as we were.

“What we’re looking for tomorrow is not just a result, but a performance as well.”

Crocs, who have fitness doubts over second row Tony Oxley and prop Rory Davis, can maintain their place in the top four with a win, but Wainwright insists the club do not entertain serious ambitions of chasing down top two Wheatley Hills and Beverley.

“There’s a bit of a gap there already and realistically I don’t think we’re thinking about promotion,” he said.

“We’d be satisfied with finishing in the top four or five teams, that would be progress for us.

“We’ve spent the last three years fighting relegation battles, so to be where we are now is a big step forward.”

Halifax Vandals host struggling Hornsea in Yorkshire Four tomorrow, with coach Matt Farrar looking for a win to consolidate his side’s mid-table security.

Vandals, who were pipped 18-12 at Wetherby last weekend, have won three out of their four fixtures at Warley this season.

“Our home form has been pretty good; even the game that we lost we were right in it for quite a while,” said Farrar.

“I think it is quite a difficult place for teams to come and hopefully we can catch Hornsea cold tomorrow.

“The table’s starting to break up a bit; we’re in mid-table and then there’s a few teams fighting at the bottom, of which Hornsea are one.

“The priority is always to make sure we’re safe and away from that battle and that means picking up these points against the teams that are around us and below us.

“I don’t see us getting dragged in, but the earlier we pick up the points we need, the better.

“In that sense, games like this are massive, must-win fixtures for us.”

Farrar regards last week’s loss at Wetherby as a missed opportunity, even though Vandals, who only travelled with 15 players, did enough to earn a bonus point.

“We had some late withdrawals, but in the circumstances I was very happy with the performance,” said Farrar.

“We had a few guys who were walking wounded in the second half and I’m pretty confident that if we’d had some subs it is a game we would have won.

“I was very happy with the commitment and I’d like to stick with a similar side this week if we can.”

Farrar’s options will be boosted by the return of fly half Paul Knapping, while second row Paul Jowett should be back after illness.