OLD Brodleians travel to Hollow Drift, home of Durham City RFC on Saturday (2.15pm) for a must win North 1 East match.
Brods have lost their last two games. and, with tough fixtures to come, things have not been made any easier for coach Ian Armitage and assistant Clive Harris with a crippling injury and unavailability list.
Twenty two of this season’s senior squad are unavailable this week in addition to the close season losses of Jack Moon, Tom Hanson, Ben Hoyle, Andy Finn and Matt Willis.
Brods need all their players to step up if they are to maintain their top six position.
Selection has been difficult with the forwards particularly hard hit.
All of last weekend’s starting back row of, Ryan Harris, Ollie Akroyd and Lee Scrimshaw are missing this week along with Joe Fee, Dave Skinner and Ollie Davidson.
The front row of Jonjo Ward, Perry Wilson and Jamie Mclaughlin will start and stand in captain Ollie Hawkins will be joined in the second row by Rob Bradley who will make his first team debut after good performances in the seconds.
The back row is all change with Rob Jennings, hoping to recover from a thumb injury, joined by Chris Hartley at blindside flanker and Kyle Millward at No 8.
The backs are also changed with Liam Scott struggling with injury and Gareth Standeven, Jonny Hotham, Andy Clay, Louis Butler, DD Martin, Martin Jackson, Pete Leeming and Chris Green all unavailable.
Danny Wood, who missed last week with a chest injury, will be asked to step back at stand-off, where he has been so impressive this season.
Danny Melia retains his place at scrum half allowing James Marshall to move to centre with Joe Armitage.
Marshall and Armitage are two of Brods’ best attackers and will be key if Brods are to be able to play a wide game.
There is plenty of pace and finishing skills in the back three where Matty Hoyle and Aaron Fowler play on the wings and Adam Standeven at fullback.
Durham are eighth in the table but are unbeaten in their four home games.
Brods away form has been poor with heavy defeats at Malton, Middlesborough and Cleckheaton. An away victory is needed with a tough game at home to league leaders Billingham next week.
The second team are at Yarnbury in a friendly fixture (2.15pm) and will be captained by James Ogden in another much changed line-up but one with enough quality.