Batley Bulldogs are set to have four key players back in contention for Sunday’s crucial Kingstone Press Championship trip to Whitehaven.
Batley are on a five-match losing run and have only won one out of their last 11 outings as they have slipped to 10th in the Championship.
However, John Kear’s men have showed vast improvement and real heart in pushing full-time opponents London Broncos and Leigh Centurions close in their last two matches.
Batley must now replicate that level of performance against a Haven side, who are below the Bulldogs only on points difference.
Kear knows the importance of Sunday’s clash, saying: “These players have done me proud and the club proud.
“We have played three quality teams in nine days and you improve by playing tough opposition and anyone who has watched all three games will have seen a visible improvement, which makes me happy,
“When we play teams around us it is important we now nail the performance but also get the result.
“It will be very tough going to Cumbria as it always is but we will give ourselves every chance if we play like we did against Leigh.
“The secret is preparing for Whitehaven as we did against two full-time sides in Leigh and London and we’ll see if we are up to it.
“Keegan Hirst had a dead leg, Sam Scott had a sore calf, James Brown had sickness and Elliot Cosgrove rolled his ankle in the London game so we fully expect those to be available and others have put themselves in the frame with performances last Sunday.
“It will be a difficult team to pick but that’s part of coaching but we need to get it right because we need the win.”
Shaun Ainscough and Brad Day require head tests after suffering knocks against Leigh.