Huddersfield YMCA will have a new half-back combination on show as they bid to beat Burnage on their artificial pitch on Saturday.
With Simon Wilson ruled out with a shoulder injury and Ritchie Hawkyard called up for Swinton Lions’ service, Josh Willans and Chris Clark have been handed the No9 and No10 shirts for the National III North trip to Greater Manchester.
The men from Laund Hill are also without another potential half-back option in Ed Barber, who has undergone knee surgery which will keep him sidelined until the New Year.
But YMCA director of rugby Damon Scholes is 100% confident the Willans-Clark combination will step up to the plate and get the job done.
“We know these two are more than good enough,” said Scholes.
“It may be Josh’s first start at this level, but he’s a very talented young player who deserves the chance to prove just how good he is.
“And on the other occasion Chris played at 10, in the game at Sale, he was outstanding, so we know he won’t let anyone down either.
“Obviously, you want as many of your senior players as possible to be available, but you know that’s not always going to be the case.
“That’s why you need a strong squad, and that’s exactly what we’ve got at the club now. This week’s change at half-back – where we’ve been able to replace two good halves with two other good halves – is a clear indication of that.”
YMCA return to action after having last weekend off, which Scholes believes came at just the right time.
“You can tell with the way the boys have trained this week that the break has freshened everyone up,” he added.
“There’s been an extra spring in the players’ step and there’s a real buoyancy around the place.
“The acid test will obviously come at Burnage this weekend, but there’s a real sense among the group that they can’t wait to play.
“I also think the boys are really looking forward to playing on an artificial pitch for the first time.
“To be honest, we don’t know much about the surface or much about the opposition, but what we do know is that we’re good enough to go there and win.”
YMCA: Dyke, Hill, Moore, Housley, Bell, Whitehead, Hodge, Lumb; Willans, Clark; Tindall, Van Royen, Ryder, Bulloch; Stead. Subs: Robertson, Murphy, Dyson.