FRUSTRATED Doncaster Knights director of rugby Clive Griffiths admits his side have already had to re-set their goals for the 2019-20 season.
The South Yorkshire club host Ealing Trailfinders today having won just two of their opening five Championship games.
Crippled by injuries – major summer signing Pete Lucock has been ruled out for the entire campaign – they are without 11 first-teamers for the visit of their big-spending opponents.
Doncaster have signed 25-year-old flanker Wian Conradie, who played in the World Cup with Phil Davies’ Namibia, and Welsh prop Dan Suter also comes in for his debut this afternoon.
Griffiths said: “I’d seen Conradie’s footage but I also asked Phil about him. He endorsed him so if he’s not up to scratch we’ll blame Phil!
“He only arrived Thursday morning, though, and trained for the first time with us today.
“It’s been a bit of a crash-course for him but that’s the way it is at the moment with these injuries.
“Pre-season went so well and we were pretty confident of reaching the top-four.
“But our focus has had to change a bit now and we just have to keep the gap between us and those at the bottom.
“Hopefully things will turn soon but, for now, it’s survival mode again.”
Ealing eviscerated bottom-placed Yorkshire Carnegie 66-13 on Sunday and are intent on challenging Newcastle Falcons at the top.
Griffiths added: “Their ambitions are ahead of ours at the moment. We’re fighting against the big budgets; Newcastle Falcons have spent millions, Ealing have millions and so do Coventry while Cornish have pumped money in.
“We’ve spent more this year but the players we’ve spent on are all injured.
“We’ll take it on the chin, though, and we’ll start again.”
Howard Packman, the ex- Ealing player who recently signed for Doncaster after a spell in New Zealand, is set for his first start at full-back but prop Colin Quigley has pulled out with a shoulder issue.