Struggling Ionians taking time over new head coach

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Hull Ionians do not expect to name a new head coach until the new year at the earliest, according to club officials.

The East Yorkshire club, who are bottom of National One, parted company with their head coach Gary Pearce earlier this month.

A coaching team of director of rugby Sean Carty and Steve Townend – the man who held that position last year – along with academy director Lee Denham, took charge of last weekend’s 48-0 hammering at the hands of Rosslyn Park.

The trio – headed by Carty – will continue to take control of team affairs for today’s similarly daunting trip to Doncaster Knights, in the Yorkshire derby.

The Knights lost their last derby two weeks ago when they succumbed 19-17 at Wharfedale, and will be mindful of coming unstuck again, even against an Ionians side that has found the step up in class from National Two North, an enormous challenge.

Wharfedale have Dan Scarbrough back for what promises to be a thrilling encounter with Fylde.

Former England wing Scarbrough, who is teaching full-time and can only play outside term time, returns at full-back for a game that pits together two teams on the same number of points in the division.

Jon Feeley’s Greens and Lancastrian’s Fylde have 51 points, with Wharfedale in fourth above today’s opponents by virtue of the fact they have won two more games.

Harrogate coach Mike Aspinall says a pre-Christmas “buzz” awaits the winners of today’s National Two North derby at Otley.

Both sides are at the wrong end of the table with ’Gate having lost their last four and Otley their last two.

But Aspinall says that today’s clash at Cross Green presents the perfect opportunity for a much-needed pick-me-up ahead of the festive break.

“We are not the form side in the division and neither are they and it’s nice to have a local derby to look forward to,” said Aspinall.

“It takes you away from the league situation a little bit as it’s almost a cup final feel.

“The boys have been really up for it all week and it’s a great game to have as the last one before the break as it’s been a long half first half of the season. I’m sure Otley feel the same.

“Both sides will be really up for it and one team is going to be going into the Christmas break with a bit of a buzz.”

Otley won September’s league clash 27-24 at Claro Road after ’Gate trailed 17-0 after 15 minutes, but Aspinall added: “It wouldn’t have mattered what the score was in that game. We’d still want to beat Otley whatever the circumstances. Local bragging rights are at stake and we want to be the highest placed Yorkshire team in National Two North.

“That means beating teams like Otley and Sheffield.”