Dons facing tough path to promotion

Gary Thornton
Gary Thornton

Rochdale’s surprise win over promotion favourites Toulouse in France at the weekend could make Doncaster RLFC’s road back to the Championship even tougher.

With Rochdale being automatically promoted after winning the play-off tie between the top two clubs, Toulouse will now feature in the play-off semi-finals to decide the other promoted club.

They will entertain York City Knights this weekend with the Dons travelling up to Barrow.

Dons boss Gary Thornton had expected unbeaten Toulouse to win promotion at the weekend leaving Rochdale to host ‘bogey club’ York at Spotland.

“I felt that York could have beaten Rochdale and had they done so the winners of our game would have home advantage in the final,” said Thornton, whose side are now likely to face the long trip to France in the final were they to beat the in-form Cumbrians.

“Irrespective of the result of the Toulouse-Rochdale game we were always going to take it one game at a time and we aren’t looking any further than Sunday’s semi-final tie at Craven Park,” he told The Star.

Thornton will begin preparations in earnest for the club’s biggest game of the season at tonight’s training session.

“We had a very light week last week in terms of training and gave the players chance to recover from having played three games in eight days,” he said.

“But we’ll get down to business tonight as well as checking on the fitness of a couple of players.”

The club have decided against travelling up to Cumbria on Saturday and staying overnight after consulting the players and will now travel on the day of the game.