IT’S matchday five for Bradford Salem in Counties One Yorkshire this weekend and everyone at the club is eagerly anticipating this long-awaited fixture.

Bob Hood’s side travel to take on Bradford & Bingley today in a rare league match between the two sides and it’s a contest that will have both clubs drooling at the prospect of facing one another.

This weekend’s hosts haven’t had the best of starts since being relegated to Counties 1 Yorkshire from the Regional 2 North East, however it’s a fixture that Salem’s Chairman of Rugby, Chris Robinson is certainly excited for.

He said: “For a club with the history and size of Bradford & Bingley, and the levels of rugby they’ve been at since they came together in 1982, to have a league fixture with them is a huge milestone for us. They’ve been a standout club in West Yorkshire for a long time and what they’ve achieved in the last generation is quite incredible.

“We’ve only ever played each other in the league on two occasions in the history of both clubs and we’ve lost both times. So, for us it’s a very proud moment to go down to Wagon Lane and take them on in a league fixture. You can absolutely disregard any current form from both sides because they’ll probably be able to play the first 30 minutes of this fixture without the ball.

“We need to be firmly on our game because Bradford & Bingley are a side who’ve played together for years, they’ve got great camaraderie and they have got a lot of pride for the shirt they’re wearing. So, we’re expecting a very buoyant and revved up Bradford & Bingley test on Saturday.”

Four games into the current season, Salem have been on the winning side twice but have also lost on two occasions and with new head coach Hood only arriving in the summer, Robinson feels that it’s too early to gage what level the team are playing at currently.

He said: “It’s difficult to say because we are not going to be making any judgements so early in the season. One thing we can be certain on is that two of the sides we have come up against will be fighting at the top come the end of the season, there’s no doubt about that. We had a very slick West Leeds side come to our place for the first game of the season and a well drilled Wetherby side that we ran close. Certainly, for the Wetherby game, there was a lot of positives to take out of that game.

“We also went to Beverley and beat them for the first time in our club’s history since the leagues began in the 1980s, and then we followed that up with a great win against a very durable Pocklington side. So, overall, I’m pleased with the start we’ve made.”

Although Salem are just four games into the current season, Robinson feels that Hood’s ideas are slowly beginning to come to fruition.

He said: “Bob has a long-term plan on how he wants the team to play and it takes time to implement those processes. However, he’s already built a fantastic rapport with the players and you can see some early signs of what style he’s trying to implement, so that bodes well for the future.”

Robinson added: “The feeling around the club at the minute is very positive and you can see that with the smiles on people’s faces. There is definitely a lot of excitement about the possibility of achieving great things moving forward.”