Micky Ward says the time for excuses is over as his Blaydon side search for their first victory of the National One season at home to unbeaten Coventry.
Last season’s third-placed finishers will be without prop Robbie Kalbraier due to a broken nose, with James Hallam coming in, while Tommy Banks, Gavin Jones and Ben Morris are all due back.
Ward said: “We can have no complaints now about squads or injuries. It is down to us to get the results.
“Last weekend at Rosslyn Park was a similar story to the week before, being right in it at the hour mark and letting it slip, but we are looking better for tomorrow.”
Ward should today find out whether or not hooker Matt Hall’s absence is long or short term, adding: “He snapped an ankle ligament on tour with England Counties and it is at a stage where it is not getting any worse or better.
“He needs to know whether he has to have an operation on it, or whether playing on it will lead to any more damage. He has an exploratory scan today and hopefully we will know more from there.”
One man out, however, is flanker Rob Bell, Blaydon’s director of rugby revealing: “He is joining the RAF.
“We are hoping Rob might come back into the equation once his basic training is finished, but that depends on where he gets stationed and all the rest of it.
“He has fancied it for a while, but hopefully is not completely lost to us.”
Tynedale travel to Blackheath, while in National Three North Westoe hope to continue their promising start away at Stockport.
Winger Chris Clark will miss the next four to five weeks with a hamstring injury, director of rugby Andy Howells stating: “We are a young side and there is a bit of naivety in there at times, but we are growing every week.
“We have plenty of strength in depth with our second-team being unbeaten so far this season.”
Also in National Three North, Percy Park welcome back James Ponton for the visit of Bradford, Liam Blackburn coming in on the wing. Simon Greetham slots in at inside centre, with academy prop George Purdy added to the bench.