WHARFEDALE'S first-team squad were told to forget about rugby and enjoy their Christmas and new year break before resuming their bid for National League Two North survival this weekend.

The Greens' head coach James Doherty, who has also tried to put the defeat at Otley on December 23 to the back of his mind, said: "I told the 30 lads to enjoy their festive break, have a few beers and forget about rugby before returning to training this week refreshed and raring to go."

While the table may not make for pleasant reading – Wharfedale are bottom with 11 points and are 14 points from safety – there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

In their next two home matches, the Greens face Luctonians (on Saturday) and Sheffield (January 20), the two teams who are in the relegation places with them.

Win those two matches and the scenario will look a whole lot brighter for Wharfedale, also potentially bringing Macclesfield, Blaydon and Otley into the danger zone.

Wharfedale were beaten 20-13 at Otley, with the root of their problems being their mistake-ridden display in the first half.

The visitors trailed 15-6 at the interval, and Doherty admitted: "We made a lot of unforced errors in the first half, and I don't think that our pack were at the races then.

"Tom Barrett missed two penalty kicks to touch in the match, which sort of summed up our day, not that I am pointing the finger at him, but the pack were a lot better in the second half, led by Adam Howard, who has played consistently well and is very difficult to stop.

"However, we didn't play to the level that we had for the three or four weeks prior to the match where we dominated early on."

Although Wharfedale may look at the clashes against Luctonians and Sheffield as winnable contests, Doherty admitted: "I don't like targeting individual games as that does a disservice to the other matches."

It is hoped that back-rower Josh Burridge will soon be back in the mix after hamstring and foot injuries.

Doherty said: "Josh will be there or thereabouts and as well as being a decent player, he also brings a good attitude."

With Tom Davidson unavailable, Tom Mann starts at full back. Rhys Lovegrove is on the bench on Saturday.

Wharfedale have played Luctonians on three previous occasions, winning one and losing two.

Their victory came at the Avenue, last January, when they won 32-22.

Tom Barrett passed 100 points for the season at Otley and is fourth among Wharfedale’s all-time points scorers.

Wharfedale’s two victories going into the turn of the year is their worst return since league rugby started in 1987.

Their previous worst start to a season was three wins in 2015/16 – their last campaign in National One.

Wharfedale: Tom Mann, Robbie Davidson, Charlie Graham, Joel Gill, Oli Cicognini; Tom Barrett, Phil Woodhead (c); Toms Asejevs, Dan Stockdale, Reece Ward, Adam Howard, Richard Rhodes, Kieran Frost, James Tyson, George Hedgley Replacements Ian Larkin, Joe Altham, Jim Mason, Steve Graham, Rhys Lovegrove