MARTIN Poste believes his forwards’ improvement will be tested during a meeting with Blackburn tomorrow.

Blacks’ front row held their own during a 22-8 win against Burnage last weekend, and the director of rugby believes they need to do so again on Saturday, kick-off 2.15pm.

Their in-form hosts have won nine of their past 10 matches in North One West, a run that has propelled them to fourth in the table.

Northwich occupy second spot.

“We have to start quickly,” said Poste.

“If we’re on the back-foot, and let them dictate, then we’ll have problems.

“Their pack is strong, something they demonstrated during a great win at Warrington last weekend, and we’ll have to be ready for that.

“But if our front five continue to show the form they have in the past few weeks I’ll be happy.

“We competed in that area [against Burnage], something that wouldn’t have happened in the past.”

He hopes prop Tom King is available again after an illness prevented him from playing last weekend.

However Ben Ridgway’s shoulder injury is unlikely to have healed in time for him to take part.

Robin Houghton returns to the squad and is likely to take the place of Will Du Randt, who is unavailable.

Poste said: “We lost Tom last week, but I took huge comfort knowing who we still had available.

“Burnage rarely moved us about at the scrum, and we enjoyed some success from drives of our own.

“I expect Blackburn to try and dominate that part of the game.”

Northwich start Saturday’s game with a six-point advantage over third-placed Firwood Waterloo.

They have a game in hand on their closest-rivals too.

Poste added: “I still think it’s unpredictable, and I don’t think any side is capable of going unbeaten from here until the season’s end.”

Blacks have also received a boost this week after prop Joe Maddocks indicated he will return to training next month.

He has not played at all this season after having knee surgery last year.