Ellison in doubt for Sunday

Date published: Thursday, February 3, 2011

DAVE Ellison, the Oldham RL prop, is doubtful for Sunday’s Northern Rail Cup clash with Hunslet Hawks at Whitebank (3pm kick off) because of an arm injury.

He hurt a forearm in training on Tuesday night and coach Tony Benson admits that the former London Skolars man, one of his more experienced front-rowers, may have to miss curtain-up on the 2011 campaign.

“Dave was in a lot of pain,” said the Roughyeds boss, “so we’ll see how he is tonight and if necessary give him until Saturday to prove his fitness.”

Young back-row man Johnny Walker, who played in each of the club’s three warm-up games, is definitely out with hamstring and lower back injuries.

But there is good news of in-form full-back Ben Heaton, who suffered a groin injury in the Roughyeds’ 50-0 SEAT Trophy drubbing of Whitehaven at Whitebank 12 days ago.

The injury has responded to treatment and Heaton is fit and ready to face the side that finished top of Co-operative Championship One last season — three points more than second-placed Oldham — to win automatic promotion.

Benson is unlikely to name his 17 before Saturday morning when the squad will complete preparations before meeting the fans in Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre between 10.30am and 12.30pm.

Hunslet player-coach Paul March, doubtful with a back injury, took his squad to the Army camp at Catterick last weekend for two days of intense training and team bonding.

The Hawks have strengthened considerably for life in the Championship by signing Richard Blakeway (York), Joe McLocklan (South Wales), Andrew Yates (St Helens), Danny Ratcliffe (York), Tabua Cakacaka (Gateshead), Richie Barnett (Sheffield) and Matthew Fox (Dewsbury).

Former Roughyeds assistant coach Mark Cass is also back at the South Leeds Stadium, working on the coaching team alongside March and Gary Lord.