Doncaster Knights v Bedford Blues – Boosted Knights urged to start better against ‘difficult’ Blues

IMPROVEMENTS: 'Doncaster Knights' backs coach, Paul Cooke.' Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
IMPROVEMENTS: 'Doncaster Knights' backs coach, Paul Cooke.' Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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DONCASTER KNIGHTS assistant coach Paul Cooke has warned they will be punished if they give prolific Bedford Blues any hint of encouragement today.

The South Yorkshire side are keen to atone after a disappointing 41-21 Championship defeat in Jersey, a third successive loss.

Bedford are out of sorts, too, having won just once in their last four outings, cruelly losing with the last kick of the game in a bizarre 45-44 home defeat to Yorkshire Carnegie last Friday.

But Cooke said: “It was chaotic and a typical Bedford scoreline.

“They make it really difficult for you when they have the football and if you continually give it back to them in good areas they will punish you.

“We’re aware of that. We had a disappointing first 40 minutes at Jersey (going 29-0 behind)

“We showed a bit of character and some positive stuff in the second half, but we can’t start games like that and we’ll be aiming to start better against Bedford.”

Doncaster welcome back captain Michael Hills from injury, Dougie Flockhart and Willie Ryan also return and Morgan Eames is fit again for the first time since before Christmas.

Cameron Cowell is recalled to the bench by Knights and Cooke added: “We’ve changed Paul Jarvis to full-back, too, a player we feel can cause some problems for the opposition defence.

“We could have made more changes after last week and I don’t think too many would have been disappointed with not playing after that, but we don’t have the troops to do it really.

RETURN: Doncaster Knights' Dougie Flockhart. Picture: Scott Merrylees

RETURN: Doncaster Knights' Dougie Flockhart. Picture: Scott Merrylees

“We have to remain positive and we have done this week and are ready for a big challenge.”

Doncaster’s in-form scrum-half Tom James has extended his stay until next season and they have also recruited Cardiff Blues’ former Rotherham Titans and Leicester Tigers centre Jack Roberts for 2019-20.

We showed a bit of character and some positive stuff in the second half, but we can’t start games like that and we’ll be aiming to start better against Bedford.

Paul Cooke