Ionians warned to be on their guard
HULL Ionians coach Gary Pearce says his second-placed side will not underestimate lowly Huddersfield when they meet at Brantingham Park tomorrow.
Huddersfield may be second from bottom in Division Two North, but the west Yorkshire side are slowly turning their season around.
Despite tasting victory just twice this season, they have lost five recent games by a try or less.
And Pearce knows that facing a team in a similar position to his last season, they will come up against a side scrapping for every point.
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That was the case last year, when Ionians finished the season as one of the in-form teams in the league to avoid relegation.
"We were in the bottom three at a similar stage last season," Pearce told the Mail.
"When you are fighting to stay up, you can produce some great results, like we did. We were one of the form teams in the second half of last season.
"Huddersfield have the capability to do the same this year. We certainly won't be taking them for granted.
"There have been some shock results this year, with Bromsgrove winning at Stourbridge.
"There will be no complacency when we take to the field. There might be a bit of rust as we haven't played in a few weeks, but we are glad to be back playing after the recent bad weather."
Ionians have three games in hand on runaway leaders Stourbridge, who sit 23 points ahead.
The two sides are set to meet at Brantingham Park on April 6 in a game which could make or break Ionians' hopes of overtaking them.
And Pearce is glad his side are still holding on to second spot after recent postponements.
They will face Darlington Mowden Park in a re-arranged game next weekend and Pearce is hoping for a win tomorrow to set them up nicely for that.
"They are all big games in this league and it was important for us to have a game this weekend ahead of the Darlighton game," he said.
"The weather affected pretty much everybody with the exception of Stourbridge.
"We are glad to be second in the table at the end of January. Most teams around us have played the same number of matches as we have.
"We'll just do what we have been doing all year long."
Pearce will again be without James Ferguson, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season because of an injury sustained in the Hull derby before Christmas.
"James has compressed a disk which is pushing into his spine," Pearce told the Mail.
"He suffers with pins and needles and needs an operation, so he'll miss the rest of the season.
"We hope he makes a full recovery and is back playing sooner rather than later.
"While he is out, we will involve him in coaching."
DAVE Laverick is unavailable so Steve Quigley is in the running to return at prop.
Ionians v Huddersfield, home, kick-off 2pm, from: Mike Bateman; Jon Steel; Joey Martin; Richard Fletcher; Sam Wilson; Chris Reakes; Adam Thomas; Isaac Green; Steve Quigley; Albert Thundercliffe; Tom Rice; Ally Forth; Stephen Johnson; Joe Makin(c); Joe Sanders; Scott Jackson; Kerry Wood; Mark Wigham; Danny Hague; Will Nutbeen; Ben Johnson.