Preview: North Wales Crusaders v Doncaster

Doncaster v Whitehaven.  Steve Snitch is tackled.  Picture: Malcolm Billingham
Doncaster v Whitehaven. Steve Snitch is tackled. Picture: Malcolm Billingham

Paul Cooke will resist the temptation to rest several key players in Sunday’s Championship clash away to lowly North Wales Crusaders.

Cooke’s mantra is a straightforward one at present: one game at a time.

And he has stressed that he will not begin thinking about the eagerly-awaited visit of unbeaten leaders Leigh Centurions to the Keepmoat Stadium on Sunday week until after this weekend’s encounter.

“We need to win Sunday’s game, said Cooke. “It’s as simple as that.

“Regardless of who we are playing the week after, this is the most vital game for us.

“We could field our strongest side against Leigh and everyone play outstandingly well and still get beat because Leigh are a really good team.

“So what we have got to do is to concentrate all our efforts on trying to pick up three points this week and then move on to the next game.

“If I do make changes this weekend it will be because of injuries or the need to freshen things up.”

There have been several changes at the Welsh club since the two sides met at the Keepmoat in March, when the Dons claimed a 20-12 win.

Doncaster Knights boss Clive Griffiths stepped down recently as head coach, but remains at the club he steered to last season’s Championship One title, as director of rugby.

“Clive’s stepped back a little bit but he’s still got a massive affiliation with the club and he’ll be there on Sunday,” said Cooke.

Anthony Murray, who started the season in charge at Barrow before becoming Griffiths’ No 2 at the Wrexham-based club, has taken over from the Welshman until the end of the season.

“It’s been a tough start for him with successive away games at Batley and Featherstone, which they lost pretty badly and conceded a lot of points,” said Cooke.

“I would imagine that there will be some kind of response this weekend, particularly with it being Anthony’s first home game in charge.”

With pitch renovation work ongoing at the Racecourse Ground, the game will be played at The Rock, the home of a local football club.