GENERAL manager Geoff Roberts is convinced the tide will turn for Sedgley Tigers when their squad returns to full strength.

Another narrow 36-29 defeat at Stourbridge last weekend was a third successive National Two North reverse for the Park Lane men.

But with several players still looking for match fitness after returning from injury, Roberts remains positive about the rest of the season despite seeing his side off the pace at the top and 18 points behind leaders Hull Ionians in sixth spot.

Roberts said: “We have lost six matches and people may look at the fact we lost six in total last season.

“But five of those were before Christmas last year so in that respect, there is not a great deal of difference.

“Of course, we would like to have won more but the performances given the circumstances of our horrendous injury list have been good.

“We have lost a few but no one has outplayed us at all and the scores show that, just like at Stourbridge where it went to the wire.

“On Saturday, it was nip and tuck all the way and very similar to the game we lost the previous week against Hull Ionians.

“It was fast and open and though we attacked strongly, we were punished when mistakes were made.

“But we have to recognise that although some players are now back from injury, they are still getting back up to speed fitness-wise.”

On Saturday, the teams, who have a healthy rivalry after coming up through the league system together, traded blows with the hosts bagging five tries and Sedgley four – to Rob Holloway, Jamie Harrison, Liam Canning and Steve Collins – the latter also kicking three conversions and a penalty.

And it was not until the final few minutes when Stourbridge sealed the win.

However, the Tigers again took points from a losing game and with more players due back over the next few weeks, Roberts remains confident they can still have a say at the top end of the table come the New Year.

Ahead of Saturday’s home clash with South Leicester, he added: “We are definitely playing a lot better and performances are not reflected by the results so I am not too downhearted.

“The strikeforce is exciting and dangerous and hopefully will continue to improve.

“We hope to have Will Lees back next week and then Max Skofic and Hallam Chapman after Christmas.

“We just have to get on with it as injuries are part and parcel of sport.

“But getting players back will hopefully turn those small margins in our favour.”