HUDDERSFIELD will be aiming to go nap tomorrow when they welcome Middlesbrough to Lockwood Park (3.00) with a view to extending their unbeaten start to the new North I season.
Mark Sowerby’s side currently lead the table with Kendal as the only two unbeaten teams in the division, and Huddersfield’s Director of rugby admits: “it would be nice to get five out of five!
“I would always back us at home as we have a pretty good record on our own ground.
“But Middlesbrough will be looking to bounce back from last week’s home defeat to Kendal, so although the lads are now playing with confidence, we’ll not be going into the game over-confident.
“We might have won our first four games, but two of those have been by the skin of our teeth, and we have not really strung together a decent 20 or 30-minute spell in any of the games.
“Middlesbrough are a typical hard-nosed aggressive North-East side who I’m sure will have a good team ethos and will stick in there no matter what.”
Tomorrow’s visitors have already had a couple of bigs wins this season, beating Liverpool St Helens 54-7 and winning 60-12 away at Darlington.
Sowerby has two injury concerns going into the match, with second rower Hamish Pratt struggling with a shoulder injury, which paves the way for Ben Harris to start the game in the pack, while full-back Rob McLaren has still not returned to training after picking up a hamstring injury against Penrith, and will not be risked.
“It will be foolish to rush Rob back and then risk him breaking down for three or four weeks,” added Sowerby.
“And, besides, Tom Ainsworth played so well last week at Cleckheaton (Huddersfield won 15-12 and did not concede a try) that it would be unfair on the lad to put him back on the bench.”
The Paxman brothers, Lee and Ben, are now both fit and form the right-hand side of the back division, while James Mortimore and Alex Shaw are again on the left flank.
The match will kick-off at 3.00 as scheduled, with no provision having been made for an early start to accommodate the England v Australia World Cup clash, with Middlesbrough having a fair distance to travel.
Huddersfield: Ainsworth; Paxman (B), Paxman (L), Mortimore, Shaw; Johnson, Clayton; Howard, Gough, Stringwell, Harris, Rhodes, Hinchliffe, Whitehead, Sowerby. Subs: Sharrock, McPhail, Swift.
Falcons (Beverley, home, 3.00): Truelove; Cox, Taylor, Hanks, Grimes; Morgan, Rothery; Slater, Davies, Pollock, Shiel, Rowan, Littlewood, Smith, Sapramadu. Subs: Stephenson, Foster.