Harrogate RUFC are facing a back-line crisis ahead of Satruday’s challenging clash at home to promotion hopefuls Sedgley Park.
Barry Frost and Luke Edwards have added to a long list of injuries in the ’Gate squad, with director of rugby Mike Aspinall pondering a return to the field as a last point of call.
Harry Parrish (jaw), Steve Parsons (foot), Charlie Morgan (hand) and Jonny Giles (back) are also sidelined.
Callum Irvine, Danny Matthews, Lewis Minikin and Sam Bottomley are the core first team players fit to face the National Two North second-placed side.
Aspinall said: “The injury list is pretty long. We’re stretched from a back-line point of view.
“Sedgley Park are probably the best back line in the league so that will challenge us, but it will give top-class experience to some of the young players we have.
“We will discuss whether we see fit to put me on the bench as far as an experience point of view because we have a very young side. It’s not something I want to do.
“Ultimately we will do what we think is best for the team. It’s not a case of having a fully fit Mike Aspinall on the cards because I haven’t played for a year now, so I hope it does not come to it.”
Sedgley Park inflicted the heaviest defeat on ’Gate this campaign when thumping them 35-11 in October. However, ’Gate took victory when the two teams met at Claro Road last season, in a tense 21-19 win.
Aspinall added: “Sedgley away was a tough day at the office but we beat them at home last year and we can take a lot from that.
“We have to challenge ourselves to be accurate enough in what we do. I have a lot of respect for them.
They are a really good side. There are a lot of strong sides in this league that are one dimensional but Sedgley Park can do it all over the pitch.”
Aspinall’s squad warmed up for Sedgley’s visit with a gutsy derby victory over Huddersfield on Saturday.
Callum Irvine scored a scintillating first-half try as Harrogate battled the elements to beat the bottom side 22-9 on a gluepot of a pitch.