West Wales Raiders v Doncaster RLFC: Howden keen to play his part in title challenge
Dons half-back Jordan Howden is hoping to play more of an influential role in the club's promotion bid this year after two injury-hit campaigns.
But to do that he needs to put a run of games together and was disappointed to miss out on the trip to London Skolars last weekend after picking up a tricep injury in the recent defeat by Bradford Bulls.
Although the problem isn’t serious he could be facing a race against time to come into contention for Sunday’s trip to current Bedfred League One whipping boys West Wales Raiders.
The Dons will be the third consecutive top three side that Raiders have faced and go into the game having lost 144-0 at York City Knights and 124-0 away to title favourites Bradford Bulls at the weekend.
Like most people in the game – the Bradford supporters clapped their players as they walked back to their coach - Howden has sympathy for the Llanelli-based side.
“They are doing it tough at the moment and it won’t be getting any easier for them at the weekend,” he said.
“We need to go down there and not only win but look to try and put a lot of points past them as York and Bradford have done because both the title race and the promotion play-off places could come down to points difference.”
Despite their results Howden supports Raiders’ policy of trying to build a side comprised mainly of local players.
“They’ve got to look to bring local players through. It might mean a tough couple of years for the team while they gain experience but going forward it’s the right way,” he said.
“I think there possibly should be a rule that all clubs should have a number of locals in their side.”
Assessing the season so far, Howden said: “The likes of Bradford and York are looking very strong and both have good coaches and you’d expect them to be up there at the end of the season
“But any one of a number of clubs could be up there (in the top five), even some who haven’t started well."
Following a glut of home games the Dons are now facing a run of away games.
“We know, as was the case on Saturday, that we are going to be playing on tighter pitches than the Keepmoat Stadium in some of our upcoming away games and we’ve got to be mentally prepared for that and adapt to the circumstances,” he said.