Bedford Blues v Doncaster Knights: Injuries and illness disrupt Knights' preparations
Doncaster Knights have again had their preparations disrupted ahead of Saturday's Championship clash against Bedford at Goldington Road (3pm).
As was the case in the build-up to the home game against Jersey last weekend, Knights have had to contend with injuries and illness.
'Three players, including one who was ill last week and has suffered a relapse, were sent home on Tuesday with the same bug,' said head coach Glen Kenworthy.
Second-rower Tom Hicks has been ruled out of the game after he suffered delayed concussion following the Jersey game, as has prop Joe Sproston.
'Joe picked up what could be a nasty shoulder injury in the same game and had a scan on Wednesday,' said Kenworthy.
'Depending on the outcome he could be facing a few weeks on the sidelines.'
Wing Tyson Lewis needed five stitches in a head wound and also suffered facial bruising following a nasty collision in the game and is rated doubtful.
Centre Will Owen, yet to play this season, and full-back Paul Jarvis are again both ruled out.
'We've been down to 22 players in training this week which is far from ideal,' said Kenworthy, who admitted that the coaching staff conducted another '˜brutal' review of the Jersey game on Monday in a bid to spark a response.
'The boys held their hands up and have worked hard in training this week.' he said.
Second-rower Morgan Eames, who also operated in the back-row earlier in the season, had a cortisone injection in his shoulder on Wednesday and Kenworthy is hoping that the former Nottingham man could come into contention, if not this week then next ,after missing several recent games following an impressive start to the campaign.
Kenworthy hinted that recent signing, New Zealand prop Matt Talaese, could be in line for his debut.
'We can field a strong starting pack but we are a bit light coming off the bench,' he said. 'Matt's not match-fit but he's trained this week and he's a mountain of a man.'
Knights go into the game languishing in the bottom three.
'Obviously it's not where we want to be but we've still got plenty of time to improve the situation,' said Kenworthy.
'We've got three more league games -Â Bedford, London Irish and London Scottish - before the start of the Championship Cup group fixtures next month and if we can come away with something like five or six points from those games then we'd probably be reasonably satisfied in the circumstances.
'We've certainly got to be looking to get something out of the game tomorrow and we've got to beat Scottish.
'Bedford play an expansive game, which is dangerous, but it can also create opportunities for the opposition to attack them but you have to take them.'