RUGBY PREVIEW: Pocklington v West Hartlepool

ON THE WAY TO VICTORY: Stuart Waites attacks for West v Alnwick
ON THE WAY TO VICTORY: Stuart Waites attacks for West v Alnwick

WEST Hartlepool are braced for one of North One East’s most difficult journeys of the season when they travel to Pocklington tomorrow (kick-off 2.15pm).

West, with just one away win to their credit, take on the team with the best home record in the division.

Third-placed Pocklington have taken full advantage of playing five of their nine fixtures so far at Feathers Field – winning all five.

The York club boast only one more win than West – six compared to the five of Iain Dixon and Peter Robinson’s side – but they are 7-2 up in terms of bonus points collected.

West have collected a bonus point in their last two matches and would love to bring something back from Percy Road tomorrow.

Director of rugby Graeme Southern told SportMail: “We’re obviously going there aiming to win, like we do every match.

“We’ll be trying to get something from the game and then look forward to a run of three home matches with a derby at Percy Park in there as well.

“But before thinking of home games we’ve got Pocklington.

“They’ll be a good, strong, physical side and their home record is excellent.

“But on our day, we are a match for anyone – it’s whether we can go out and make tomorrow one of those days.

“Some days it has not gone our way and we’ve not been at the races – but we have also shown we are capable of playing good rugby.

“Hopefully, tomorrow can be one of our better days.”

West’s win over Alnwick has created some vital breathing space with those clubs at the bottom end of the league.

They will not want to get dragged into that scrap and will look to cement a place in the top half.

But they are not being aided by the constant chopping and changing of the match-day squads as Southern explained.

“We have no real consistency in terms of selection,” said the 48-year-old. “We struggle to turn out the same squad week-in, week-out.

“But we’ll continue to persevere and I know we have a good squad going to Pocklington tomorrow.”

Scott Butcher and Chris Atkins are unavailable so West call up two of the club’s young prospects, Matt Tyers starting on the wing and Luke Chapman in the pack. Gavin Robinson continues in the centre.

West: S Waites, M Tyers, G Robinson, P Youll, L Mallinson, Z Southern, R Painter, I Pinchen, A Rollins, A Coates, L Chapman, J Rafferty, D Boatman (capt), J Baggs, S Miller. Subs: R Wood, J Corbett, A Foreman