Top four is target for resurgent Crocs: Cooper

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Old Crossleyans director of rugby Howard Cooper says the club are still targeting a top four finish in North East One ahead of tomorrow’s home game against Malton and Norton.

Crocs, who made their exit from the Yorkshire Cup last weekend when a weakened side suffered a 24-9 loss at the hands of a Bradford and Bingley team that fielded the former England back and New Zealand RL international Henry Paul, are well clear of the relegation scrap but equally distant from the promotion race, leaving Cooper to focus minds before the visit of the North Yorkshire outfit.

“We have won our last two and it would be nice to keep that momentum going now,” said Cooper.

“Our aim now is just to finish as high up the table as we can, and we believe that top four is achievable.

“After needing a win on the last day to stay up two years ago, and then finishing sixth last season, that would be progress for us.

“But the teams like Malton in the bottom half of the table are all desperate for points and we’re expecting a tough game.

“We let ourselves down when we played them earlier in the season and it would be nice to put that right tomorrow.”

Crocs expect to welcome back “six or seven” frontline regulars, although Cooper said he was relatively pleased with last weekend’s makeshift line up.

“We probably had 12 lads who have played first team rugby this year missing, and I think it was a relatively good performance considering that,” he said.

Heath coach Kevin Plant has urged his players to rediscover their winning edge when they host Pontefract in a crunch game at the bottom of Yorkshire One tomorrow.

A run of poor results - including consecutive last-play league and cup losses over the last fortnight - have left Plant’s side flirting with the relegation places, with only eight points separating them from second-from-bottom Keighley.

Pontefract are one point and one place behind Heath in ninth, and Plant is adamant it must stay that way.

“In football parlance, it’s the proverbial four-pointer,” said Plant, whose side bowed out of the Yorkshire Shield with a 26-25 loss at Yorkshire Two West Leeds last weekend.

“It’s one we need to win, it’s as simple as that.

“Everyone is up for the challenge, but we need to make sure we do the right things at the right times.

“We were in a position to win the game at 25-23 with three minutes to go last week and managed to lose it.”

Heath could bring in forward Jeff Jones, while Ryan Hunter is in contention to return after three weeks out with a knee problem.