Rotherham Titans v Doncaster Knights: Titans seeking to find their finishing touch

Joe Barker: Titans centre says there is no panic at Clifton Lane as they prepare for Cup derby against Knights. (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)
Joe Barker: Titans centre says there is no panic at Clifton Lane as they prepare for Cup derby against Knights. (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)
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ROTHERHAM Titans centre Joe Barker hopes his side can use the British & Irish Cup to rediscover their killer touch.

The South Yorkshire club have lost four of their opening six Championship games as they break off to host derby rivals Doncaster Knights in the cup competition today.

However, although that looks concerning, two of the defeats have been by just a solitary point – a 17-16 scoreline at Bedford Blues last Friday and a 31-30 loss at home to London Scottish in September.

Barker, one of nine players retained from last season as head coach Justin Burnell made vast changes, insists there is no panic at Clifton Lane.

“We won our first game of the year against London Welsh and were then up against Donny at their place but just fell off in the last half-hour,” he said.

“We’ve been in most of our games only to miss a few little things that we needed to do to get over the line.

“No side has overrun us and we’re showing a lot of good signs.

“Things just haven’t quite clicked yet but, hopefully, they will in these next couple of weeks.

“There’d be no better time to do it than in the derby against Doncaster.”

Third-placed Knights, meanwhile, have continued last season’s stellar form, losing just once as they look to build on May’s appearance in the Championship final.

Barker, who spent time on loan at Doncaster from Yorkshire Carnegie in 2013, added: “There’s still a few players there from my time and, of course, (centre) Lloyd Hayes went to Knights from Rotherham in the summer.

“It’ll be interesting facing him while we’ve got some players who haven’t had much game-time yet and will be looking to make the most of their chances, too.”

Four of Titans’ duel-registered Gloucester players are in the starting line-up; fly-half Lloyd Evans, Josh McNulty (prop), Joe Batley (flanker) and Freddie Clarke (No 8). On the bench is Leicester Tigers back Oli Bryant.

Knights have four players on debut in Leicester’s George Catchpole and Ben White, lock Nick Gray, on loan from Fylde, and Jack Bergmanas, who is back from Doncaster Phoenix.