Doncaster Rugby League Club's key playmaker Paul Mennell looks set to miss today's 'must-win' inaugural Championship Shield opener against former Super League outfit London Broncos at The Hive (3pm).
Head coach Gary Thornton, who described Mennell’s prospects of shaking off a hamstring problem after Thursday’s training session as ‘50-50’ at best, will make a late decision on the influential half-back but will not take a risk with him.
“Obviously it's a must-win game and you want people like Paul to play, but on the other hand if we play him and it goes that could be him out for the season,” said Thorrnton, who has recalled Josh Kitttrick from his loan spell at League One Oxford as cover.
Thornton, who is hoping Richard Wilkinson could be back in several weeks, will also be without prop Brett Waller, who it is hoped will be fit to face Featherstone next Sunday, full-back Tom Carr (shoulder) and will not consider Lee Waterman who hasn't trained this week due to personal circumstances.
Better news for Thornton is that props Matt Groat and Russ Spiers both return after injury.
Despite the fact that Broncos did the double over his charges, Thornton felt the 30-4 win at Castle Park in June flattered them in what was his second game at the helm.
“I thought that we matched them for long periods but they capitalised on some basic errors,” he said.
“They are a good side but they are not Leigh or Bradford. But having said that if we are to stand a chance of beating them we've got to be competitive for longer than at Leigh.”
Dons must win their seven Shield games to stand any chance of avoiding relegation and even then they must still rely on other results going their way.