TEAM manager Geoff Roberts is looking forward to a happier new year after a difficult first half of the National Two North season for Sedgley Tigers.

A catalogue of injuries has hampered the side that missed out on promotion via the play-offs last season and seen their challenge at the top falter so far.

With virtually a whole team of players unavailable at various parts of the campaign, Sedgley sit eighth after 15 games, having lost more than half of their matches.

But rather than be downbeat, Roberts has praised the efforts of his threadbare squad for their efforts in trying circumstances.

And he is hopeful when his squad is back near to full strength in the coming weeks, they can get some more wins on the board and climb the table.

Roberts said: “Hopefully we will be relatively injury free in the second half of the season.

“We know when we have a fully-fit squad, we have a good team – last season’s run proved that.

“It has just been so hard chopping and changing things around with all the injuries.

“It can happen but I have never experienced so many in such a short space of time.

“We have one more game before a two-week break for the Christmas period and when we come back it should juts be a matter of weeks before we get more players back from the treatment room.

“Then we can start to build up confidence and hopefully push on.

“I cannot fault the lads for their efforts – they may be losing but they are not getting well beaten.

“However, losing affects confidence and can be a bad habit so we need to get rid of that and try to build it back up again.”

Last weekend was a similar tale of so near yet so far for the Tigers when they went down 22-14 at home against Fylde.

Tries from Matt Riley and Jimmy Lloyd, and two Steve Collins conversions, had the Tigers level at 14-14 after a quick start saw Fylde cross the whitewash inside the first minute and then again six minutes later.

But the visitors edged 19-14 ahead before the break and a solitary penalty 10 minutes from time ­— the only points of the second half – sealed the points.

On Saturday, Sedgley are on home soil at Park Lane again when Wharfedale are the visitors for the final game of 2018.

And Roberts is hoping to end the year on a positive note.

He added: “This is the first game of the second half of the season as we lost at Wharfedale in September.

“We will hopefully have a couple back from knocks and the aim is to end the year on a high after the recent defeats to Chester and Fylde, as those games were tight and we had lots of possession.

“Then we can look to the new year with some optimism.”