Doncaster RLFC: Thornton targets clean sweep of wins in May

Tom Carr pictured in action against Leeds
Tom Carr pictured in action against Leeds

Doncaster RLFC head coach Gary Thornton is looking for his players to set the tone for the rest of the season when they resume their League One campaign.

With the club's Challenge Cup campaign over for another year following a spirited showing in defeat against Leeds Rhinos, the Dons can now focus all their attention on their promotion bid.

They return to action at home to London Skolars on Sunday.

“We’ve dropped out of the top four following successive defeats, with the one at York being particularly disappointing, and we need to get back up there,” said Thornton.

“We are splitting the campaign into monthly segments and we’ve got three, possibly four, games this month and we are looking to win them all.

“London Skolars and Keighley, who we also entertain, are currently above us so if we can beat them both then we’ll climb above them at least.

“The following month we’ve got to go up to Cumbria twice to play Workington and Whitehaven and it’s never easy up there.

“We’ve got Barrow down here in what will be a vital game which is likely to be played at the athletics track as the groundstaff will be working on the main pitch during that period.”

Barrow are currently making the running along with full-time Toronto and have opened up a four-point lead on the chasing pack, including the Dons, which may prove hard to claw back.

“We don’t want to have to go up to Barrow in the play-offs as we did last season, if we can help it,” said Thornton.

“Having said that, I wouldn’t be afraid of us going anywhere if we play like we did in the second half at Headingley.

“There is still a long way to go.

“Barrow have to go to Toronto and if they lose there and we beat them at home then it’s all to play for come the Super 8s.”

In addition to losing leading try-scorer Kieran Cross for several weeks after he suffered a dislocated shoulder against Leeds, the Dons will also lack former Great Britain forward Jamie Thackray after he picked up a five-match ban.

“Despite the fact that he’s got a good disciplinary record over the years I think he’s got to take it on the chin,” said Thornton.

“I don’t think that we’ve seen the best of Jamie, who probably expected it to be easier than he has found it in League One in keeping with other former top flight players over the years who have dropped down to semi-pro level.

“He’s got the chance to work hard in training and try and win his place back in the side after his suspension.”