Doncaster RLFC: Drop fear is affecting everyone - Cooke

Paul Cooke pictured in action.
Paul Cooke pictured in action.

Things are getting desperate in the battle to remain in the Championship, according to Doncaster player coach Paul Cooke.

Third placed Dons head to Barrow Raiders on Sunday well positioned to make the cut ahead of next season’s RFL restructure.

But Coach has warned that his side - and the majority of Doncaster’s rivals - cannot afford to take their eye off the ball.

Only the top nine teams in this season’s Championship will retain their second tier status.

Eleven points currently separate Doncaster, in third, and 11th placed North Wales Crusaders. Sunday’s opponents Barrow sit just two points and one place above bottom side Swinton.

“It’s a tougher league than last year, and with five clubs being relegated it is giving teams that desperate edge,” said Cooke.

“Nobody, with the probable exception of leaders Leigh, can start planning for next season.

“Normally at this stage of the campaign the majority of clubs would looking ahead to next season.

“But that is not the case this season and several teams you wouldn’t expect to be in that situation, are in a precarious position.

“Even last season’s champions (Sheffield) are down in seventh spot.”

Shaun Leaf and prop Mark Castle face fitness tests ahead of this weekend.

“It’s going to be difficult this week, no doubt about that,” said Cooke.

“We know how tough it is, not least the travelling up there. But if we can pick up a win it will make it seven points from nine in our three trips to Cumbria this season and you’d take that every time.”