Dons star Hughes will miss opening Cup clash

Dons RLFC squad 2010: Shaun Leaf. Picture: Liz Mockler D5754LM
Dons RLFC squad 2010: Shaun Leaf. Picture: Liz Mockler D5754LM
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THE Dons will lack loose-forward Carl Hughes in tonight’s opening game of the season away to Featherstone Rovers in their Northern Rail Cup Pool A clash.

Although fears that the close-season signing had broken a bone in his foot in last weekend’s final warm-up game proved unfounded, it is still causing him some discomfort.

“It is badly bruised but hopefully he’ll be back for next week’s game against London Skolars,” said Dons boss Tony Miller.

Better news for Miller is that half-back Scott Spavin, who missed out on the game against the Doncaster Select due a shoulder injury, proved his fitness this week and will line-up against the Championship side.

Miller admits that selection for tonight’s game caused him a few headaches.

“There were two or three disappointed players when I named the team but it is a long season and they’ll all get their chance,” he said.

Miller admits that his Championship One side could hardly have faced a tougher start to the season.

“They are a very good side and I’d take a losing bonus point before the game (awarded to teams finishing within 12 points of the winning side),” he said “But we are going there to try and win the game and I am looking forward to it.

“Featherstone are very strong up front and we’ve got to be able to match them, otherwise we are in for a long night. They have also got Liam Finn, who I rate as one of the best half-back outside of Super League, and we’ve got to try and close him down.

“But they haven’t just got good players, they are well drilled and well organised and I think Daryl Powell has done a great job at the club.

Miller last night named Shaun Leaf, the club’s longest-serving player, as the team captain for the 2011 season.

Said the Dons boss: “I thought he was one of our most consistent players last season. The players look up to him and he plays the game how it should be played. I think he’ll prove a good choice.”