Doncaster Knights face a vital evening in the battle to beat the drop as they welcome fellow strugglers London Scottish.
The Knights are currently bottom of the Championship and must arrest a run of three straight losses if they are to start climbing the table. It is the games against the teams around them they must win if they are to avoid the ignominy of relegation after an eight-year stay in the second tier.
The return of captain Matt Challinor to the side will be a big plus for the Knights as they desperately search for a winning formula.
“I am quietly confident about Friday,” said Challinor. “We have some players coming back in and there is more than enough experience in the squad.”
Challinor recognises the importance of beating the sides around them, including Scottish.
“They have some big players, a lot of experience and come to Doncaster off the back of some good recent results,” he added.
“If they win this weekend they will pull themselves away from the chasing three, so it is a huge game for both sides.”
Doncaster have often struggled to score tries this year, they are yet to score 30 points in a game, and will be relying heavily on leading try-scorer Tyson Lewis to provide them with points.
At the other end of the table, Leeds Carnegie go down to Bristol’s Memorial Stadium to try to keep their play-off qualification prospects alive.
Leeds beat Bristol 50-31 in the first game of the season at Headingley, but head coach Diccon Edwards feels the game will be different this time.
“They are much improved since we beat them at our place and will present a big hurdle for us” said Edwards.
While Leeds have been clinical against the lesser sides in the division, they have struggled when facing the higher-placed teams around them. Bristol should offer a good test of their play-off credentials, especially at home, where they have won six games in a row. Edwards believes all squads will be feeling the strain of injuries and admits to having some problems.
“We are no exception, we’re particularly struggling in the back row,” he added. “However, we are pleased to have Rory Clegg available for this week’s game as part of his loan arrangement.”
Leeds had two British and Irish Cup games over the last fortnight, while Bristol have had an extra week of rest due to last week’s fixture being cancelled, something Edwards concedes might be a factor.
“We have to make sure that we are ready to face that challenge,” he said.
Leeds could fall out of the final play-off place with a loss.