BLACKBURN coach Dino Radice has challenged his players to raise their game, win the next two matches and get in the promotion mix.

The Ramsgreave Drive club have two matches left before the Christmas break and Radice knows victories will put his side in a good position going in to the New Year.

Blackburn are up to fifth place in North Lancs/Cumbria Division on the back of three successive wins – their best run of results so far this campaign.

But rather than slack off in the lead up to the festive period, Radice wants his squad to step up a gear.

They travel to Cumbria to take on St Benedicts who are unbeaten at home this season before playing host to high-flying Aldwinians the week after.

“These two games could effectively make or break our season,” said Radice. “If we win them, then we could be up to third in the table and in a position to challenge for a promotion place.

“Lose them and suddenly we’re down to seventh or eighth and we have it all to do again.

“There could be the temptation to slack off because it’s coming up to Christmas but I want the complete opposite.”

Radice has been delighted with his teams recent form and a blend of patience and tempo and brought its rewards.

“It’s all about decision making and the boys are learning more and more about making the right decisions,” added Radice who was recently appointed head coach of Lancashire U17s and U18s. “But we now have two very tough games. St Benedicts may be struggling a bit in the league but they are unbeaten at home. Aldwinians are up in second place but these are the types of games we need to win if we want to challenge for the top spots.”

Blackburn should have a near full squad to pick from for the trip north – including new scrum half Sean Hall who is among the leading try scorers this season.

“Sean is one of the new players to have joined us and he has done very well,” said Radice.

“But like the rest of the squad, he knows there is more to come and it would be a great boost for the team if we can win these two matches.”