Championship 1 Preview: Oxford v Gateshead Thunder

Oxford coach Tony Benson faces an anxious wait to see whether four key players are fit for Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship One match with Gateshead Thunder.

Valu Bentley (virus), Dave Ellison (hip), Danny Halliwell (back) and Brett Robinson (back) are all battling to be in contention for Benson’s matchday squad.

Benson said: “Gateshead are using the dual registration system and they’ve had some quality players through it.

“While their scores have blown out, they’ve been pretty strong in their last three or four games and they’ll certainly be a good challenge for us this week.”

Thunder coach Kevin Neighbour will check on Benn Hardcastle (mouth) and Chris Parker (knee) before finalising his team.

Neighbour said: “We’re going to have to be mentally strong this weekend.

“We’re very capable of putting things together – we were the better team by far for the first 29 minutes last week – but in adversity at times we choose the softer option.

“We’re choosing to go away from what works, and that’s what is putting us in trouble.”

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