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Back problem sidelines York City Knights skipper Alex Benson
11:55am Thursday 3rd May 2012 in Knights RL
CLUB captain Alex Benson is almost certainly ruled out of York City Knights’ high noon duel away to Swinton on Sunday after an old back injury flared up again.
Benson was among a batch of first-teamers in the provisional starting line-up for tonight’s Reserve Championship game at home to Featherstone (8pm) with a view to staking a claim for involvement in the weekend’s televised Championship clash.
However, he pulled out yesterday after having treatment on back pain. The 26-year-old had an operation on a slipped disc three years ago while with Doncaster and occasionally the problem returns.
He is hoping to pass fit for the visit of Sheffield Eagles a week tonight but said of this Sunday’s game: “At this rate, I’m most probably out. Hopefully it will start to ease off and with more rehab I hope to be available soon.”
The prop had been named in tonight’s second string along with back-rower Rhys Clarke, pivot Brett Turner and winger-turned-packman Dave Sutton, with head coach Chris Thorman saying they were included to get important game-time.
Benson and Sutton – who is almost certain to start in the second row as the club continue to trial him in that position – did not feature in the first-team loss to Batley last time out, while Clarke was a substitute.
Turner needs more match practice at hooker where he is likely to be deployed against Swinton – as opposed to scrum-half, following the arrival from Castleford of dual-registration half-back Ben Johnson.
Thorman said: “You’ve got to play to get back in the first team. Brett could be used at hooker (for the first team) so he needs to have more minutes in that role. They’re all in contention for Sunday.”
Three York St John University students – Chris Whitfield, Jamie Baxter and Joe Mann – are again included in a provisional 19-man squad having been in the party for Saturday’s match at Sheffield.
Jack Stearman, who scored both the tries in York reserves’ loss at Sheffield on Saturday, is unavailable as he is away for twin brother Joe’s wedding.
Knights reserves (probable): A Haynes, Law, Poutney, Silburn, Winstanley, Craig, Carmody, Howard, Turner, Clarke, Sutton, Brining. Subs: from Caddie, Barber, Whitfield, Baxter, Thorpe, Mann.
Meanwhile, Sheffield Eagles pair Dane McDonald and Alex Szostak have both been suspended for two matches – ruling them out of the Eagles’ trip to York next Thursday.
They were found guilty of committing a dangerous throw tackle in the Championship match against Keighley on April 28. Both players pleaded guilty to the Grade ‘C’ offence.
The Knights are also unlikely to go up against Ian Mort this Sunday.
The reigning Championship One Player of the Year, who broke Swinton’s club record for points in a season last term, suffered a severe gash to his nose in the Lions’ Challenge Cup loss at Huddersfield.