TAKING points off their relegation rivals, not scalps of the leaders, will define Ilkley's survival bid this season, according to head of rugby Rhys Morgan.

Ilkley crashed to their fourth defeat in five league games, going down 41-7 to North Premier leaders Billingham. It was their second heaviest defeat of the season, behind a 64-7 loss at Blackburn last month and Morgan wants his side to be in touch with their rivals at the bottom by Christmas and not cut adrift.

Despite a plucky display, where Ilkley were only 10-7 down at half-time, Morgan says his side need to bounce back when they travel to third-from-bottom Rossendale on Saturday (3pm kick-off). There is four points difference between the two sides with Ilkley rock bottom on just seven points, two behind second-from-bottom Alnwick.

Morgan said: "The good thing is that we are not cut adrift at this moment in time.

"If we can get a bit of a run together against teams in and around our area and we want to keep in touch up until Christmas.

"We are improving and we have a crack at pulling ourselves out of the danger area.

"Rossendale is never a good place to go. But of course we can go there and win. There's a shot, but it's not going to be easy, they have a big set of forwards, they are a mature team.

"I'm not under any illusions that it's a possible four-point game, it's going to be tough."

Morgan added his side are following the old sporting cliche of taking each game as it comes and targeting victories on a weekly basis as they look to claw their way out of trouble.

He said: "All we ever do is target the next week and attempt to win it. That will be our focus week in, week out. We will try to win games and keep plugging away.

"We have been playing top teams while we are developing. Hopefully we can start to turn things around."

Morgan also wants his side to turn brief periods of dominance in games into longer spells after they impressed, particularly in the first-half, against Billingham.

He said: "It was a weird game.

"Billingham are a good team and deserve the win. We put up a good fight and could have lasted a bit longer. I was pleased with the first-half performance.

"We turned the ball over 21 times. You can't do that to a team like Billingham and expect to win. We need to start playing for 60 to 80 minutes in games, get more patterns of play.

"It's onwards and upwards. We go into the Rossendale game making steps forward. Guys are getting game time under their belts and I don't think the Billingham scoreline reflected the game."