Wilkie: Win will keep us out of danger zone
HULL RUFC chairman Bruce Wilkie believes a win against Ionians tomorrow will help them avoid dropping back into a battle against relegation.
Hull have pulled away from the drop zone with three successive wins, but Wilkie has warned his players not to become complacent, especially against their local rivals at the Ferens Ground.
"We have pulled away from the relegation zone by winning the last three matches," Wilkie told the Mail.
"But a defeat to Ionians could see us dragged back into the mix.
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"We made a very poor start to the season but we have turned things around.
"We have put clear blue water between ourselves and the teams below us in recent weeks.
"We now have to maintain momentum, especially with games against Ionians and Preston Grasshoppers coming up."
Wilkie hopes his side can stop their poor run of results in recent derbies.
The Chanterlands Avenue side haven't won any of the last four derbies – losing the last three.
Wilkie believes Hull can learn a lesson from Ionians on each of those occasions as they look to claim the bragging rights.
"I think Ionians needed to win those derbies," Wilkie said.
"Ionians came into the games desperate to win and they did.
"We need to do that.
"They beat us when we were perhaps expected to win and we'll be looking to do the same this time as they will be heavy favourites, given the fact they are second."
Ionians are 21 points clear of Hull and eight places higher in the table and will be expected to end the year with a victory.
But Wilkie is also keen to end 2012 with a win which will help ease the memory of the poor start they made.
"We didn't make the best of starts to the season, losing seven of the first nine games," Wilkie said.
"The derbies are always important as local bragging rights are at stake.
"They are more important this year with Ionians riding high in the table and looking to keep their grip on a play-off place. For us, a win is vital after the poor start we made to the season.
"But the wins against Darlington, Leicester and Sheffield have been very good for us. We need to continue that form."
Wilkie hopes the game is played in front of a big crowd.
Despite being played so close to Christmas, Wilkie believes fans will want to see an intense game.
"I hope we can get a crowd of around 650," Wilkie said.
"There are no other fixtures this weekend so hopefully we can get a big crowd."