ILKLEY head of rugby Rhys Morgan hopes his team's upcoming weekend off will allow injured players a chance to recover and new members of the squad time to adjust.

The Dalesmen have lost six out of the seven fixtures played so far this season after the failure to retain several key players from last term.

Injuries to reliable starters Stuart Conor and Eddie King have also not helped matters.

Therefore, Ilkley have had to rely on their youth, hoping the likes of Tom Stanley and Joe Pattern can fire them up the table.

Morgan is hopeful his wounded players can return soon and the younger players can adapt to the higher level.

He said: "We expected to retain most of the squad at the end of last season, but we were hit by a few big exits.

"Seven prominent first team forwards leave through the door and it takes some time to recover from that.

"We have had lads missing like Stuart Conor and Eddie King, who was out last week and has been superb for us.

"We have continued to work with the lads who are new in this year, lads like Tom Stanley, Joe Pattern and Nathan Hines, are now stepping up and working hard to get to the level required.

"With the players back too, I am hoping we can string a few games on the bounce and a couple of victories to have a fighting chance.

"We continue to work on our set piece and our lineout has improved dramatically over the last three weeks.

"The set scrum is getting stronger and our patterns of play need to continue to get embedded into the team.

"We keep on plugging away and nothing really changes."

Ilkley were scheduled to travel to fellow North Premier strugglers Rossendale last weekend but the game was called off due to heavy rain.

It was a chance for the visitors to close the six-point gap which currently stands between the two teams.

Morgan has mixed emotions when deciding if the postponement was a good thing for his out of form squad but was glad he could watch England's sensational semi-final win against New Zealand instead.

He added: "When you’re sat nicely sitting in the warm watching the England game knowing you’re going to miss the second half, you want to do anything but go to Rossendale.

"We had the feeling that they were hopeful to call the game off, they haven’t been in the best of form.

"I thought the trip was important and wanted to go, unfortunately that decision was taken away from us.

"It might have been an opportunity missed but we will never know."

Ilkley are next in action against seventh-placed Lymn on November 9.