IF one club in the Rugby League deserves sympathy it's York's opponents tomorrow, Hunslet Hawks.

Last season they were looking forward to Super League after being crowned Northern Ford Premiership champions.

Less than a year on and they are facing an uncertain future. Talks of a merger with Dewsbury, the enforced sale of key players due to cash constraints and now the scrapping of their Academy team.

It must be heartbreaking for the Hunslet club and their fans after they were cruelly denied a Super League place by the powers that be.

Unfortunately it's becoming an all too familiar scenario. Remember Keighley during the Cougarmania years? They too were denied deserved promotion, as were Batley.

These clubs put everything, including considerable sums of cash, into their promotion bids - and for what?

Under the current precedent it makes more sense for clubs to cut spending, buy average players, leave their stadiums to crumble and settle for a low to mid-table place in the NFP.

It's not the way the sport wants to be going but unless clubs are offered more of an incentive to succeed they may not be left with any other option.

Talking of Hunslet's defunct Academy, they were due to play York Academy tomorrow.

Instead York will become the first opponents of the newly-formed Oldham Academy who have taken over Hunslet's fixtures.

That should give the Wasps an ideal opportunity to register their first win of the campaign but they are struggling with injuries.

Eddie Keeping, Paul Raybould, Johnny Waldron, Adam West and Richard Tinker, who damaged knee ligaments in an Interworks game, are all out. Loose forward Matthew Corr, who played for the Academy last season, returns to the side.

Coach Dean Thomas said: "We've been able to match teams for 30 minutes then we lose a bit of concentration when the going gets tough. Now we've got more of a team bond so we should be able to pull each other through."

The match kicks-off at Huntington Stadium at noon.

Ex-Wasp Rich Goddard had to contend with some good natured ribbing from his former colleagues when he stepped up to take a match-saving 40 metre penalty at Don Valley last week.

Chris Judge revealed he did his best to talk Goddard into missing the kick which would have given York the two points.

"I was saying, go on Rich, Miss it, just for me. You know we need a win. But he wouldn't even look at me," he said.

Unfortunately Judge couldn't swing the verdict in York's favour and it was Goddard who had the last laugh.

Injured Leroy McKenzie was in good spirits last week as he watched his team-mates draw 12-12 with Sheffield Eagles.

McKenzie revealed he broke his jaw on both sides in the match at Oldham and has had all kinds of plates and wiring inserted to aid recovery.

But he was remaining optimistic about his chances and said he may even make a return before the season if it healed quickly.

Did anyone recognise the two men running the line at Don Valley last week?

That's because the touch judges were both from North Yorkshire, namely Selby pair Dave Milburn and Paul Stockman.

Poor Mark Cain can't seem to have a bad game these days without people accusing him of wanting away.

The rumours were all round Huntington Stadium after the Swinton game that Cain was ready to jump ship to Dewsbury.

But that seems a little unfair considering that, in recent years, Cain has been one of York's best players.

He may end up leaving at the end of the season - and if he has a chance to better himself then who can blame him - but he is York through and through and, while he's here, he will continue to give 100 per cent.

Any player is allowed an occasional off-day and Cain probably has far less than most. No matter what he decides to do, he has given York five years loyal service and deserves the full backing of the fans for as long as he continues to wear the Wasps shirt.