Dons hope for ‘Butts’ boost

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DONS’ boss Tony Miller is hoping to have strong-running full-back Mick Buttterfield available for Sunday’s opening Championship One clash against Whitehaven at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Last season’s Player of the Year has missed the last two games after picking up several knocks in the Northern Rail Cup game against York, but trained on Wednesday night.

Miller will make a decision after tonight’s training session where he will also be checking on Mike Burnett who also sat out last Sunday’s final NRC game at Hunslet after aggravating a hip problem.

“He trained earlier in the week but suffered a reaction so he’s probably 50-50,” said Miller.

Skipper Craig Robinson, who got through a tremendous amount of work in defence at the South Leeds Stadium is set to play despite suffering a facial injury. With scrum-half Craig Fawcett again ruled out, new dual-registered loan signing Keiran Hyde, who partnered Paul Cooke last weekend, will make his home debut.

With none of the established clubs keen to be involved in the new-look Championship One next season, Miller predicts the league will be the most keenly-contested in years.

“All three Cumbrian clubs, in particular, will be hard to beat and as we play Whitehaven at home on Sunday and travel to Barrow the following week, we need to have a good start,” he said. “Whitehaven will probably be the strongest of the three teams, and it is going to be a tough game but these are the sort of games we need to win if we are going to be promoted. I’m hoping that it will be a fast track and firm under-foot because it promotes an expansive game and we are looking to play a bit of rugby. We’ve been working hard in training this week with ball in hand and I’m hoping it will pay off.”