Inman return is Keighley boost for must-win match

Stuart Inman is fit again after a shoulder injury

Stuart Inman is fit again after a shoulder injury

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Keighley have received a boost in their Yorkshire One relegation battle.

Improving forward Stuart Inman is available for Saturday’s must-win match at bottom club Acklam, who have lost all 19 of their league matches this campaign and picked up only three bonus points.

Keighley’s director of rugby Graeme Sheffield said: “Stuart, who has been out since before Christmas when his tendons separated from a shoulder, has been in his best form this season.

“He came through a second-team game last Saturday, playing for the full 80 minutes, and we should be travelling as near to strength as possible.

“There is a slight doubt about back Luke Carter, but, other than that, apart from our long-term injury absentees, our only doubt is whether second-row Josh Hannah is available as he works on Saturday mornings.”

The importance of this weekend’s fixture is underlined by the fact that Keighley are second from bottom on 22 points and can put pressure on Pontefract, who are immediately above them in the last position of safety but only seven points better off having played a game more following their 39-0 defeat at fourth-from-bottom Heath last Saturday.

If you add into the mix that Ponte are hosting second-placed Ilkley on Saturday and that they and Heath also have to play Acklam before the season finishes, the importance of a Keighley triumph this weekend is magnified.

The Rose Cottage side’s league match at York was postponed last Saturday because of the North Yorkshire club’s involvement in the RFU Intermediate Cup at Consett, but Keighley were not idle.

They arranged a friendly at Warrington-based mid-table South Lancashire and Cheshire Division Two club Moore and won 50-0.

Sheffield added: “It was important for us to get a run out and we received a warm welcome.

“The match was in doubt in midweek because of the weather but we had already booked a coach and were keen to travel.

“We wanted an away match so we could replicate the sort of distance we will have to travel on Saturday and we didn’t pick up any injuries.

“We were also able to give three debuts and the opportunity for some of the lads who are on the fringe to get some game-time.

“The three new lads were teenage full back Ollie Mitchell, back-rower Danny Drake and second-rower Shaun Everett, who is Luke’s twin brother.

“Ollie, who can also play at fly half, has been doing well in the second team and, like Danny, trains week in and week out.

“Shaun has been at the club for three or four years, having come from rugby league, and they bring an energy and enthusiasm that isn’t always there with other players.

“Ollie and Shaun are nearly there in first-team terms but if Josh isn’t available then I would have no hesitation in naming Danny in the squad.”

Keighley are not sure when the York match will be played.

York’s free league dates could well be taken up by their national cup commitments but Sheffield wants their fixture played as soon as possible as it will have a bearing on relegation.

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