DEWSBURY RAMS will target a fourth win of the season over neighbours Batley Bulldogs when they make the short trip to Mount Pleasant aiming to haul themselves further clear of relegation danger in the Kingstone Press Championship.
Dewsbury triumphed 20-4 at home to the Bulldogs on Good Friday, in what was Neil Kelly’s first game in charge as Rams head coach, and they also knocked Batley out of the Challenge Cup following a dramatic golden point extra time drop goal.
The Rams completed a hat-trick of wins over Batley when they won another tense affair 13-12 at the Summer Bash in Blackpool.
Kelly has masterminded a superb run by Dewsbury, who have won five of their last seven matches to move into eighth place in the table.
However, it remains very tight with just two points separating four clubs from Dewsbury down to second-bottom Swinton Lions and Kelly insists his side are far from out of danger.
Kelly said: “We aren’t out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination.
“We’re happy with our recent run, but it’s about keeping it going and recognising what we are doing in the early stages of games that’s leading to us being able to win them. We have got to keep doing that.”
The Rams go into the derby bang in form having defeated Oldham, Toulouse and Rochdale in their last three outings to climb away from the bottom two.
Dewsbury produced one of their best performances of the season to defeat Rochdale 40-10 last Sunday but it shows how much they have improved under Kelly that the coach was slightly disappointed after his side conceded two second half tries.
Kelly added: “By the end of the game they were demoralised because we defended so well.”
“We’ve got some good footballers in our side who are always going to score points, but our defence was superb throughout the game.”
The Rochdale victory proved a memorable occasion for Rams’ veteran half-back Paul Sykes, who racked up his 400th career appearance and landed six goals to pass the 2,000 points milestone.
After Sykes had starred for his hometown club last week, Kelly paid tribute to him, saying: “He is playing well, he is an integral part of what we are doing.”