Doncaster RLFC: Don’t expect an easy ride in League One, warns Thornton

Doncaster rlfc v North Wales Crusaders
Doncasters Jordie Hedges lines a kick up
Picture by Dean Atkins

Doncaster rlfc v North Wales Crusaders Doncasters Jordie Hedges lines a kick up Picture by Dean Atkins

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Doncaster RLFC boss Gary Thornton is hoping his new-look side can make a winning start to their 2016 Kingstone Press League One campaign at the Keepmoat Stadium on Sunday.

And whilst he expects the Dons to be good enough to see off the visitors, who will be playing their first league game in the town, he warns that League One will be tougher than some people expect.

“Possibly the big win over Oxford during pre-season has raised the expectations of some people,” said Thornton this week.

“Certainly if any fans expect us to score fifty points against most opposition then they will be disappointed because there are some good teams in this division.

“I understand that a few things were said on Twitter after the North Wales game but a win is a win and people need to be realistic and realise where we are.

“We know where we need to improve.

“The players know that too but we can only get better as a team the more games we play together.

“Although Gloucester at home is a good way to start our league campaign it won't be easy and they'll be very enthusiastic.

“A big factor on how we do this season will be getting our mental attitude right.

“If we think that teams, particularly the less established ones, will just roll over then we could come unstuck.

“That's a little worry I have on the eve of the league season with us having a lot of young players.

“Having said that I'm pretty confident that this group of players will have the right mindset.”

As well as the right approach to games, Thornton and his fellow coaches have also stressed the importance of trying to make the Keepmoat a fortress.

“That's the plan,” he said.

“If we are to mount a challenge for the title then we've got to win our home games.

“We certainly don't want anyone coming here and having an easy ride.

“We've targeted all our eight home games to give ourselves the best possible chance of making the top-eight play-offs and also be in a good position to make a strong challenge for the title once they begin.

“Looking at the teams we've got to play - and the squad we've got - we should be able to achieve that as well as picking up points on the road.

“But the likes of York, Barrow and North Wales will be tough and they'll fancy their chances.”