COACH ANDY Sands believes the next two fixtures for newly-promoted Waterhead will be pivotal in their National Conference League, premier division campaign.
Waterhead, who are a creditable seventh in the 13 team league, play Stanley Rangers at home and are away to Cumbrian sided Millom, two teams currently occupying relegation places.
“They are two massive games and ones we need to win to put further daylight between us and the teams at the bottom of the table,” explained Sands.
Waterhead have won five and lost six of their 11 league games so far as they occupy a mid-table place with the league’s predictor forecasting they will finish seventh.
Sands believes Waterhead would be even higher placed if they were able to field a settled side.
He said: “I have been struggling to put out a side with players injured or away. It has been a nightmare.
“It has been frustrating because, with a full side, I am sure we would be even higher in the table.”
Waterhead’s problems are likely to persist with scrum-half Mick Diveney, winger Tom McMullen and Sands himself all facing a disciplinary hearing on June 17th following dismissals.
Sands was forced out of retirement for the 70-24 home defeat by Bradford Dudley Hill only to be given his marching orders.
On a brighter note, however, Carl Sneyd, Matt Foggarty and Fraser Corley are all expected to be back in action soon after injury.
SADDLEWORTH RANGERS, meanwhile, continue to endure a torrid campaign after winning just one of their first eight games following relegation from the amateur Premier Division.
The squad has been hampered with an ever-increasing injury list, including key players Paul Rafferty (dislocated knee), Jack Bradbury (dislocated shoulder) and Dave Newton.
But coach Emmerson Jackman insists as players return over the next four weeks, when they have five home games, they will pick up more points.
He said: “It seems every week someone goes down with an injury. We’ve not had a lot of luck but I am sure that will change.
“There is a lot of disappointment, but on the other hand we know what we want to achieve.
“I am sure we will stay in the division and if we do, we will have done a good job.”