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DONCASTER KNIGHTS: This is a survival fight says Clive Griffiths

CLIVE Griffiths says the first thing he will demand from his Knights squad is acceptance they are in a relegation dogfight.

The Welshman took over full time as director of professional rugby earlier this week after completing his coaching duties with Canada.

He will have full input into the side that runs out at Castle Park on Friday night for the crunch clash with fellow strugglers Jersey.

And he is keen to make changes.

Griffiths was in the stands to witness the Knights’ crushing 52-7 defeat at Nottingham on Sunday, a performance which hammered home the bleak situation.

He said: “What we must accept from the start is that we’re in a fight against relegation.

“It was the first time that I’ve seen the lads in the flesh in a game and a lot of the problems were exposed.

“You hope for a little bit of a lift when a new coach comes in but there was not a big reaction.

“I won’t get too angry or disappointed because things like that happen, you don’t change the world overnight.

“Look at Harry Redknapp at Queens Park Rangers – they lost 3-1 in his first game on Saturday.

“The thing we’ve got on our side is plenty of time, there’s more than half the season left.

“And I really believe there is a lot of improvement in this squad.

“We lost the battle on Sunday but we’ve not lost the war.”

Griffiths is looking forward to a full week with the team

He said: “I had a couple of sessions with the lads last week but with the limited time it would have been stupid to try and change things before the Nottingham game.

“I’ve got a decent amount of time with them this week and we’ll have the chance to look at changes.

“It’s good that the British and Irish Cup is up next because it will allow me to try a few things.

“I can start putting my DNA in the squad and I’ll be able to bring a couple of bodies in to freshen things up.”

On his arrival, Griffiths highlighted defence and discipline as the two areas he was most eager for the Knight to improve, choices backed up by the Nottingham defeat.

He said: “We conceded 21 points when down to 14 men and the defending was not up to scratch.

“These games are hard enough when you’ve got 15 men, never mind when you’re giving the other team the advantage.

“Changes to the game over the last few years mean more yellow cards are going to be handed out, but you can avoid them.

“We’ve got to make sure that we stop shooting ourselves in the foot.”

Tom Davies suffered a dead leg in the first half at Nottingham but could be fit for the visit of Jersey.

Griffiths has issued a rallying call to supporters to get behind the Knights in their time of need on Friday.

The new boss says his side will look for any advantage they can get against the Channel Island side.

He said: “The supporters can be massive for us on Friday night – and we will need them to be.

“I loved the amount of support we got when I was here last and we’re going to need all that and more to get us out of this situation.

“A roaring crowd can give you that seven points that can be the difference between winning and losing.

“Friday night’s game is huge, everyone needs to be up for it.”

 

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