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Blaydon forced into alterations
BLAYDON have been forced into a number of backline alterations as they look to close in on leaders Ealing Trailfinders at the top of the National One table.
Zach Kibirige and James Fitzpatrick were part of the Newcastle Falcons squad that took on Rotherham Titans in the Championships last night, and the pair are therefore unavailable for today's trip to Loughborough Students.
"Those lads are a bonus if you can get them," said Blaydon director of rugby Micky Ward, whose side are currently fifth in the table.
Sam Hanks comes into the centres, with Simon Barber and Nathan Bailey lining up on the wings. James Hamilton makes his debut in the back row, replacing Jason Smithson who has broken his hand, while Shaun English replaces Gavin Jones at lock.
Tynedale, who are five places below Blaydon in the table, will be looking for a win when they entertain basement boys Macclesfield.
Ben Frankland remains at centre after impressing there during last weekend's defeat to Rosslyn Park, but prop David Dickinson has suffered a hernia problem and George McGuigan, Hamish Smales, Harry Mountain and Matthew Charters are also missing.
Darlington Mowden Park are chasing an eighth victory on the bounce as they travel to Caldy in National Two North.
Grant Connon has recovered from a hand injury to take his place at fly-half, but lock Andy Walsh misses out because of a gash to the leg.
Westoe are boosted by the return of Gareth Nesbit and James Clark as they look to build on last weekend's victory when they travel to Huddersfield.
West Hartlepool entertain Bradford and Bingley in National Three North, and the visitors could include former dual-code international Henry Paul in their squad.
Billingham have shuffled their pack in an attempt to improve on last weekend's defeat to Chester when they travel to third-placed Percy Park.
James Watson starts in the front row, with Steve Smith dropping into the replacements. Anthony Amos returns at hooker, while Dan Burns is preferred to Paul Shepherd at flanker.
Middlesbrough host Cleckheaton in North One East looking for only their third win of the season.
Adam Johnson will make his debut at hooker after joining from Hull, with Simon Moore stepping up from the second team to replace Simon O'Farrell at fly-half.
Darlington, who are still looking for their first win of the season, travel to Beverley, while Northern travel to Malton and Norton and Morpeth entertain Wheatley Hills.
In Durham and Northumberland One, fourth-placed Stockton host bottom-placed Sunderland and will be keen to return to winning ways after an injury-wracked month.
Scrum-half Rob Green will undergo a fitness test later today after missing the last six weeks with a knee problem.