DONCASTER Knights will field a new-look half-back pairing in their eagerly-awaited Boxing Day Championship clash against Leeds Carnegie at Castle Park (2.30).
Newcomer Fred Burdon, who has impressed at centre, takes the fly-half jersey as Mike Whitehead and Tom Luke remain on the injury list, alongside skipper Chris Hallam.
David McIlwaine reverts to his preferred position of full-back after two games in the No 10 shirt/
Centre PJ Gidlow and prop Alex Brown both start after shaking off ankle injuries which have sidelined them for the last fortnight.
Knights are aiming for their first-ever double over the relegated Premiership side, who they beat 30-16 at Headingley in October.
They have already beaten the West Yorkshire side at home in a British and Irish Cup Cup pool game but with both clubs fielding weakened sides that night, Knights boss Brett Davey is taking no notice of that result.
He is more concerned that his players have got last weekend’s 20-16 B & I Cup defeat against Swansea out of their system.
He was critical of certain players’ attitude in that match but says that no-one will need any motivation to be up for the game against Leeds: “Hopefully it will be a great Castle Park occasion. They are on a run of good form in the league and they are a decent side.”
Both sides look well placed to finish in the top eight and qualify for the promotion play-offs, which start in March, with Davey not ruling out the possibility of the Headingley brigade mounting a successful bid to get back to the top flight at the first attempt.
Leeds will lack former Doncaster full-back Stevie McColl, still on the comeback trail following surgery last month.