LEE PAXMAN and Gaz Lewis are back!
And Huddersfield rugby union player-coach Dan Hyde admits the return of the vastly-experienced duo couldn’t have come at a better time.
The men from Lockwood Park are still searching for their first National II North victory of the season after losing their opening 10 fixtures.
But with inspirational No7 Lewis set to play his first game of the season following knee surgery and blockbusting centre Paxman back after being sidelined for two months with a broken arm, Hyde believes they could make all the difference in tomorrow’s home clash against fellow strugglers Dudley Kingswinford (3.00).
“No disrespect to those who have been providing cover, but the return of these two could be massive for us,” said Hyde.
“In my opinion, the No7 and No12 are the two leaders in the defensive line, not just in terms of action but in terms of their words and their organisation.
“Gaz and Paxo have done those roles superbly for us over the years, and we know they will do it again, hopefully starting tomorrow.
“Lapses in defence have been a key failing for us so far this season, so these two know exactly what we expect from them this weekend.
“If they do that job to the best of their ability then we know we’ll have built the foundations for success.”
Hyde will also be looking for his players to cut out the errors, which is something he’s sure will happen when the victories finally arrive and the confidence returns.
“Even though our self-belief has been taking a real hammering, the spirit among the players has never waned,” he added.
“We’ve got a team full of battlers, and while that never-say-die attitude remains we know hope is not lost.
“Like ourselves, Dudley are scrapping for their lives right now and I’m sure they’ll be targeting this game as the one to kick-start their season.
“But we feel exactly the same way, and I know what a massive psychological boost it’ll give everyone at the club to finally get a ‘w’ by the side of our name.
“We know if we play to our full potential this will happen this weekend.”
Huddersfield: Battye, Murphy, Stringwell, N Rhodes, Sharp, Hinchliff, Lewis, Curry; Benton, Hinchliffe; Booth, Paxman, Clark, Moon; Owen. Subs: Birkhead, Sanderson, Duffy, Hoyle, Hyde.