HUDDERSFIELD RU will be out to regain their winning momentum tomorrow when they entertain relegated Altrincham Kersal at Lockwood Park (3.00) in their final North I fixture of the season.
Sadly, coach Mark Sowerby’s side will definitely be without towering centre James Mortimore.
At training this week, it was discovered that the 6ft 5in giant threequarter had suffered a badly broken thumb in the 20 minutes he was on the field at Westoe, and is now plastered up to the elbow and will miss next week’s play-off game.
And to give Sowerby an extra headache, his other main centre Ben Paxman is struggling with a hip injury, also incurred in the South Shields ‘roughhouse,’ and is a big doubt for the match tomorrow.
“We’ve been very lucky this season with regards to injuries, up to now,” said Sowerby, “and it’s a big blow to lose Morts (Mortimore).
“I also don’t want to risk Ben (Paxman) if he is not fit, and then not have him available for the crunch game the week after. It goes to show just how thin on the ground we are for cover.”
Tony Stringwell and James Davies return to the front row after resting last week, while big lock Gavin Rhodes returns for his first run-out since picking up a blow to the head at Sheffield Tigers three weeks ago.
The pack in fact, will have a more recognisable look with Sowerby himself back at No8 after sitting out last week’s 10-9 reversal on Tyneside.
Only Nick Sharpe is missing from the regular line-up, and he will take a turn on the bench nursing a sore ankle, alongside Tom Sharrock and Jack McPhail, both of whom had full run-outs seven days ago.
“Obviously we want to win as we start our build up to the promotion play-off game, so I will be fielding the strongest side I can put out,” added Sowerby.
“But, at the same time, we have to mindful of the game next week, which is by far the most important.
“Altrincham are already down, and their coach, who I know well, is trying to have me believe he is sending a weakened side across!”
Huddersfield: (from) McLaren; Shaw, Collins, Paxman (L), Paxman (B); Johnson, Clayton, Howard, Davies, Stringwell, Hinchliff, Rhodes, Pratt, Whitehead, Sowerby. Subs: Sharpe, Sharrock, McPhail.
Mike Catt wants his fellow World Cup winner Martin Johnson to generate a “no excuses” environment when he starts work as England team manager.
“I think it is a fantastic decision to get ’Johnno’ involved. He is a winner and a very good leader,” said Catt.
“He will hopefully bring back that environment where there are no excuses like there have been over the last two or three years.