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What has ex-Dons coach Gary Thornton had to say ahead of his return to the Keepmoat Stadium with Hunslet Hawks?

Gary Thornton
Gary Thornton

Former head coach Gary Thornton is hoping to make a winning return to the Keepmoat Stadium with Hunslet Hawks on Sunday 12 months after being sacked by Doncaster RLFC.

It was a decision some people thought was controversial at the time.

But Thornton told the Free Press: “I don't feel that I have anything to prove on Sunday.

“Of course I’m hoping for a Hunslet win but that would be the case whoever we were playing this weekend because we’ve lost a couple of games we shouldn’t have done.

“We know we can’t afford to lose too many more or we’ll lose touch with the leaders.

“We certainly need to get back into the top half of the table.”

Reflecting on his departure from the Keepmoat Stadium last May, Thornton said: “Obviously nobody ever likes being sacked and there was a bit of bitterness at the time but it’s water under the bridge and you have to move on.

“I was fortunate to get back into the game fairly quickly and an opportunity came up at Hunslet and I’m enjoying my time here.

He added: “The game at Doncaster was the first game I looked for when the fixtures came out and I’m certainly looking forward to coming back and catching up with the backroom staff and players. As are former Doncaster players such as Matt Nicholson, Brad Foster and Jack Walton.

“It’s not every week at this level that you play at a ground like the Keepmoat which has big open spaces.

“We like to play football - we’ve got some skilful players in the side and we’ve got players on the edge who can cause problems – so hopefully the pitch will suit us.

“I think that there are probably one or two teams in a false position at this moment in time,” he added.

“We, for example, have had a really tough run of fixtures and we’ve only played one team – Hemel – from the bottom half of the table.”

Looking ahead to the game, Thornton said: "I obviously know about the Doncaster players I signed and a lot of them are playing well.

“I’ve also watched footage of quite a few of the Doncaster games and they don’t appear to be playing too differently to when I was there. But Richard (Horne) has obviously got his own ideas on how he wants the team to play.”