Whitehaven set to host York City Knights in a possible play-off semi-final dress rehearsal on Sunday

Carl Forster: Looking forward to Whitehaven's home clash against York
Carl Forster: Looking forward to Whitehaven's home clash against York

Sunday's clash at the Recreation Ground could be a dress rehearsal for the League One play-off semi-final.

Whitehaven, who host York City Knights this weekend, look destined to finish in third place while their visitors look well-placed to finish fourth.

That would set up a repeat game in a fortnight back in west Cumbria, while Barrow would most likely be hosting Doncaster.

This Super 8s game has added spice because the respective men in charge have been nominated for the League One Coach of the Year award.

Both have strong claims, particularly from where they started from at the beginning of the season, and the verdict might depend on who wins these two games.

Barrow coach Paul Crarey is also a strong contender and his claims would be enhanced by winning promotion after just missing out last year.

But the verdict has to be announced on Monday, September 18 which is before the two play-off semi-finals.

Forster and his team are recovering from the effects of jet lag as they prepare for Sunday’s game, heartened by the best performance from a League One side in Canada this season.

York had made sure of their play-off place thanks to their 21-21 draw with Doncaster at Bootham Crescent last Sunday.

The Knights had been 21-14 down just after the hour and did not level until 90 seconds from the end through a Connor Robinson drop-goal.

Right on the hooter, they got lucky when Jack Miller’s penalty for Doncaster hit the post.

The York club almost folded at the end of last season before being saved by a take-over and to reach the play-offs from such a starting position is a notable achievement.

Coach James Ford told The York Press: “We’ve ticked off a few objectives and we’ve slowly improved throughout the year.

"The plaudits for that improvement and for us making the five need to go to the players.

“They’ve worked hard and they’ve had to cop some stuff in reviews and in training. But they’ve always had a great attitude and always focused on improving.”

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