Doncaster Knights: Road woes ‘must end’ to achieve promotion

Michael Hills
Michael Hills

The Knights must end their away day blues if they are to make sure of an immediate return to the Championship according to Clive Griffiths.

A 19-17 reverse at Wharfedale last weekend was the Knights’ third defeat of the season, all coming on the road.

And Griffiths is convinced the struggle away from Castle Park is beginning to give the opposition a psychological boost.

“We can’t keep going on like this or it’s going to hurt us,” the director of rugby said.

“You can see the opposition lifted by it when they think we’re having problems. They grow an extra leg.

“They are already after the scalp of Doncaster – you could see that in the way Wharfedale celebrated – but seeing us struggle elsewhere away from home only builds their confidence that they can win as well.

“If I knew what the problem was and how to stop it I’d probably be able to take Wales to the World Cup final.

“All you can do is tell the players it’s just a piece of grass, the same as the one we’ve got a Castle Park.

“Then you hope they can ignore the external factors like a vociferous crowd.

“They’re going to have to be right for the trip to Worthing in the New Year because they’ll get a sharp shock if not.”

Griffiths has time on his side in plotting an improvement to his side’s away form.

The Knights close 2013 with a pair of home ties, starting this weekend with the top of the table clash with Coventry who Griffiths says are under as much pressure as his side to win promotion.

He said: “Coventry have the same goals as we do and they’re under plenty of pressure to get out of this league.

“They signed a couple of players I wanted in Matt Jones and Barry Davies.

“If we win on Saturday it will be a hammerblow to their hopes because they will have lost five before the turn and that’s a mountain to climb.

“It’ll be a tough game but they all are and we’ve beaten some very good teams at home already.”

Griffiths hopes to have Michael Hills available for selection while Dougie Flockhart will undergo a late fitness test.