KELLY’S EYE ON RUGBY: West Hartlepool under pressure, get well son Ted Robbins

BUTCHER MEATS HIS MATCH: West's Scott Butcher comes off worst in this challenge against Northern
BUTCHER MEATS HIS MATCH: West's Scott Butcher comes off worst in this challenge against Northern

UNDER Pressure. It’s time to blast out the song by Freddie Mercury and David Bowie.

Kelly’s Eye is referring to West Hartlepool’s attempts to get themselves relegated.

Saturday’s North One East derby at Horden is just four days away and has now assumed even greater significance.

West are making life extremely hard for themselves. They are just three points above a drop zone they should be having no involvement in.

They have already messed up one must-win game, a 9-3 home defeat to Northern on Saturday allowed the Newcastle side to leapfrog them in the table.

West are still ninth but not safe. Bradford & Bingley, who occupy the last relegation spot, are just three points back and have a game in hand.

A defeat at Welfare Park will not relegate them nor even drop them into the bottom three. But a win is a must given fifth-bottom Driffield are at Brinkburn the following Saturday and are also breathing down the neck.

West are under pressure for results and need to start at the Welfare. But Horden will be rubbing their hands with glee.

The leds from up the A1086 love nothing more than beating Poolies, who are viewed as southern softies even though they are only one postcode away.

Horden are already on their way out of the league and, unfortunately, have been for some time.

But they are getting ever nearer that first victory after performing strongly against the league’s top three of Sheffield, Ilkley and Percy Park. They will be desperate to get it this weekend

A win would take them back into the plus column – they are currently on minus three points. Pride is at stake for Horden, but for West it means so much more.

YOU get to meet very few celebs in this business.

There is no red-carpet reporting for this desperate under-achiever. A cold touchline in the mud is my journalistic home,

Kelly’s Eye has had the good fortune to interview some rugby legends down the years, Beaumont, Carling, Farr-Jones, Stubbs ... West have even had a couple of stars as their coach.

But in terms of non-sporting celebs, it’s been quite thin on the ground, unlike me who is quite fat on the ground.

I’ve met Tom Watt (Lofty off EastEnders to those of us just on the wrong side of 40) a couple of times and what a top man. I also met Nicholas Parsons and found him rather pompous.

However, a few years back I got to rub shoulders with a giant of entertainment – in more ways than one – Ted Robbins.

The Phoenix Nights comedian was watching his local side Rossendale beat West Hartlepool and while clearly an aficionado of forward play he was a fan of West full-back Darren Thomas. Aren’t we all?

Poor Ted collapsed on stage during the opening night of Phoenix Nights Live at Manchester Arena at the weekend, but is on the mend in hospital.

Get well soon Ted.

IT’S hard to believe the RBS 6 Nations is here already. In case you have missed BBC’s plugs – and you thought the British Broadcasting Corporation did not do adverts – it starts on Friday.

And it opens with the biggest match of the lot – Wales v England at the Millennium Stadium.

However, don’t hold your breath for an away win or an England title.

The injury situation in the England camp is so dire that Stuart Lancaster has added Charlie from Casualty to his backroom staff.

Kelly’s Eye hopes the RBS 6 Nations exposure the fringe players are going to get will make us stronger for the World Cup later in the year, when hopefully we’ll have all the wounded troops fit and ready to conquer the planet.

If England are to lift the Webb Ellis Cup then they need a 30-odd players capable of playing and beating the best on the planet, not just a top First XV.

So strength in depth is vital and that might be the best England can hope for over the next six weeks.