MARTIN Poste has said the prospect of contesting a cup final at the end of the season will keep his players focused during the run-in.

Northwich discovered last weekend that they will take on Birkenhead Park in the Cheshire RFU Vase final after their North One West rivals surprised higher-ranked Wirral, the holders, in the semi-finals.

Blacks, conquerors of Sandbach in their last-four encounter earlier this month, won a meeting between the teams to claim the trophy two years ago.

“My lads have a carrot,” said Poste, director of rugby at Moss Farm.

“They’ll want to on the field that afternoon and they’ll give themselves the best possible chance of doing that by producing consistent performances in the next few weeks.

“We can look forward to playing Birkenhead Park, a side we know well of course, and it’s a compliment to the division we play in that we’ve both beaten National League sides to get through.”

Northwich have not given up hope of finishing in a promotion play-off position either.

They resume their campaign with a trip to Waterloo on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.

It’s a contest they start occupying fourth place in the table and eight points adrift of Blackburn, who head to champions-elect Carlisle, in second.

READ > Northwich: remaining matches this season

Blacks will arrive at Blundellsands buoyed by a flawless February and seeking a fifth successive win in all competitions.

Their hosts boosted their survival chances after collecting victories in their past two matches but remain in danger at the bottom of the table.

Poste said: “It’s a big game for both teams.

“We can’t look too far ahead, but we’ll try to win all our matches from here.

“Even if we do, we need Blackburn to lose a couple.

“Is that likely? Perhaps not, but there have been enough unpredictable results in North One West this season to keep everybody on their toes.”

Scott Davidson, who has made an impressive impact at centre after switching from Waterloo to Northwich, returns to his former club less than a month since his transfer.

He helped Northwich to a notable victory away to Carlisle on his debut before scoring a decisive try in added-time to sink Manchester on his home debut.

READ > Northwich 28-26 Manchester: match report

Poste quipped: “Both teams have won every game since his move so it’s worked out pretty well don’t you think?

“He knows what he’s letting himself in for and so do we.”

Northwich won 23-20 in the return in November after Richard Dale’s last-gasp try tilted a close-encounter their way.

The visitors will be boosted by the return of front-row duo Joe Maddocks and Ben Ridgway from injury.

Sam Naylor (shoulder) is an injury doubt and Matt Ensor is definitely out, while captain Matthew Poste is unavailable.

James Underhill (fractured jaw) is a long-term absentee.

“We had eight missing for our previous game and that list is considerably shorter now,” said Poste.

“That’s where a pause does help you out.”