Huddersfield Giants’ coach Paul Anderson has urged his side to avoid complacency when they visit free-falling Widnes Vikings tomorrow.
The West Yorkshire club are showing real signs of recovery having spent much of the season at the bottom of Super League.
The impressive Magic Weekend rout of St Helens was a fourth win in six games and they now face opponents who, remarkably, have lost eight successive league matches.
Despite remaining in 11th place, Huddersfield know if they can maintain their current progress they could still overhaul Widnes, in eighth, and snatch that last play-offs berth.
Victory tomorrow would narrow the gap to just two points and, though chasing Salford and Hull KR are in a similar position, the Giants’ greater pedigree would make them favourites to oust Denis Betts’s side.
“We have gone through a whole range of emotions this year from being so close to being so far,” explained Anderson.
“We’re in a position now where we are starting to gather some form and momentum. I think what is helping us is getting continuity with our selection and training.
“I don’t think we should get carried away with the run of results but we should look at over the past five or six weeks and you can see from the performances that they have been good.
“I was adamant after the game in Newcastle that we were not going to fall in love with ourselves – the reality is we are still second from bottom.
“It is a position none of us like. Our form is turning, but we can’t have any complacency.
“This is a massive game for us, though. If we go there, get a win and other things happen around us then we could be two points behind whoever is sat in eighth.”
Anderson is set to name an unchanged side to the one that swept past St Helens 48-20.
Meanwhile, he has praised his assistant Kieron Purtill who announced earlier this week he will leave at the end of the season to take on a similar role with ambitious Championship club Leigh Centurions.
“With Kieron, I have worked alongside him, under him and he’s worked for me, too, and I’m sad to see him go,” added Anderson, about his deputy of the last four years.
“I was coached by Kieron when I was at Saints and he was a good coach there, so we go back a fair few years. I class him as a friend now and not just a work colleague. I’ve got nothing but admiration for the man and wish him well for the future; it’s a new challenge and it’s near home for him so good luck to him.”
Widnes – top at Easter after winning six of their opening seven games but who have not won in the league since Good Friday – will give a debut to forward Jack Buchanan following his arrival from Australia.
Betts has also called up 18-year-old loose forward Brad Walker, who has yet to make his Super League debut.
Regular front-row pair Eamon O’Carroll and Gil Dudson drop out of the side that lost 18-12 to Salford in Newcastle.