Graeme Sheffield has hailed his players’ strength in adversity as Keighley aim to end a run of five straight defeats at Malton & Norton on Saturday.

The Utley side have had to contend with a horrendous injury list after gaining promotion to North One East, their latest setback being a shoulder injury to captain Leigh Sugden which is set to sideline him for a couple of weeks.

But they have refused to let their heads drop and director of rugby Sheffield said: “We have been calling on guys who are not used to playing at this level and they are absolutely playing their hearts out.

“Apart from at Wheatley Hills (who have won all nine games), we have not been hammered by anyone. We are not being beaten by more than two scores and are still picking up bonus points.”

Sheffield admits, however, that his side are desperate to end their barren patch. He said: “We are all still very positive but we need to get a win under our belts as we are looking slightly anxious.”

Marco Ferrazzano (wrist) and Stuart Inman (knee) remain out but Will Armitage and Paul Sinfield return. Danny McGee could be the one to deputise for skipper Sugden.

Cleckheaton will look to build on last week’s win at Middlesbrough when they head to Durham City.