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Wharfedale coach Jon Feeley challenges players to fight for their places
Wharfedale coach Jon Feeley has challenged his players to “show what they are made of” after their dismal 52-22 defeat at Henley.
It was their fifth-successive loss and leaves them just 14 points above the National League One relegation positions.
Now Feeley has vowed to look for a reaction from his squad as they prepare to face Cleckheaton at home in the quarter-finals of the Yorkshire Cup on Saturday.
“I will be watching closely how people train because too many of them had the wrong mindset during the first half of last Saturday’s game.
“What I am looking for is a vast improvement in performance levels and attitude.
“The players have to show me that they want a place and then I will be looking for a performance against Cleckheaton,” said Feeley.
The coach is refusing to consider the prospect of relegation although he concedes there is a need to start gathering points again.
He admits that he is concerned by the current dip in form. “I am trying to work out how a squad that has beaten teams like Doncaster and Esher can suddenly play as badly as they did at Henley,” he said.
“It is up to me to try and get the team back to winning ways, but to do that I need the players to show that they have the right mentality and hunger to turn things around.”
With Matt Dudman still recovering from concussion and Phil Woodhead sidelined with an Achilles injury, Jimmy Bullough gets a start at scrum half against Cleckheaton.
He will be joined in the side by his regular Foresters half-back partner Will Bell.
Outside them the Davidson brothers Tom and Will team up at centre while the Foresters’ top point scorer James Druce lines up at full back.
In the pack there is a deserved outing for hooker Luke Cole who has been sidelined by the restrictions over the number of loan players.
With an eye to the important league matches to come, the selectors have named what looks to be a strong side.
Several players will be given the opportunity to gain match fitness and others to rediscover their form, while on the replacements bench will be some young prospects for the future, including the newly-capped England under-18 winger Taylor Prell.
Wharfedale: James Druce; Nick Taylor, Will Davidson, Tom Davidson, Josh Prell; Will Bell, Jimmy Bullough; Neil Dickinson, Luke Cole, Adam Howard, Richard Brown, Rhys Davies, Jim Mason, Josh Burridge, Alex Powell. Replacements: Matt Freeman, Dan Stockdale, Rob Burnett