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Keighley bid to stun Hills
4:04pm Thursday 17th January 2013 in Sport
Keighley director of rugby Graeme Sheffield believes his side are capable of an upset at home to Wheatley Hills on Saturday – despite suffering a ‘cruel’ double injury setback.
Weather permitting, the Rose Cottage outfit welcome North East One’s second-placed team in confident mood after gaining their fourth league win of the season at Middlesbrough last week.
But it came at a cost following news that vice-captain Danny McGee could be out for the season with a broken right arm and skipper Leigh Sugden is sidelined for at least a fortnight with a recurring shoulder injury.
Keighley were on the end of a 47-9 hammering at Wheatley Hills earlier in the season but, after winning their first 11 games, the Doncaster side have since suffered three defeats. Sheffield said: “We can get a result against anybody in this league.
“When you look at how their season has gone, they’ve not been travelling particularly well.
“They lost against Darlington (17-12 away), whom we have beaten twice. There may have been some changes there as they are not the side they were but they will still be a tough proposition.”
Keighley’s season continues to be blighted by injury after half-back McGee and No 8 Sugden had to come off in the 20-13 win at Middlesbrough.
Sheffield said: “Danny’s was a clean break but that could be him out for the season, while Leigh’s injury is a recurrence of a right shoulder injury.
“He’ll be out for a couple of weeks minimum, possibly longer.
“It is a cruel blow but that’s how it goes. We’ve just got to get on with it.
“The lads did absolutely brilliantly to win last Saturday. Middlesbrough were a huge side and it was really pleasing to get the win, though we were disappointed they gained a bonus point.”
Having gained promotion from Yorkshire One last season, Keighley have been severely hampered by a lengthy absentee list – which was more than 25 at one stage – in the first half of this campaign.
And Sheffield is proud of the way his troops have shown strength in adversity.
He said: “We have shown enough character to stay in this division. I think we are better than the sides at the bottom and, if we survive, it will make us stronger.”
On the plus side, winger Sam Walker could be in line for his first start since injuring his knee in Keighley’s play-off win at Alnwick last April.
The most improved player of the year winner last season has been easing his way back in the second team. Back-rower Paul Rossi is unavailable.