Kingstone Press League 1 preview: Newcastle Thunder v Keighley Cougars

Newcastle Thunder are coming off a busy schedule after playing three games in nine days.

Coach Stanley Gene said: “I’m very pleased for the players. Within the nine days we faced three of the top teams who had come down from the Championship and we have another one on Sunday. All I asked for from the players over that period was for them to give me their best, to be honest with each other and they gave me that. We’re looking forward to the Keighley game.”

Apart from the long term absence of full-back Stuart Kain with a knee injury, Gene will be picking from a fully fit squad.

“Everybody’s fresh so it’s given me a massive headache,” he said, “it’s pretty hard to change a winning team.”

Despite a convincing 54-20 victory at Hemel Stags last week, Keighley Cougars coach Paul March wasn’t entirely happy.

“We set some standards against York and we fell below them at the weekend against Hemel,” he said.

“Scoring 54 points away from home is pretty pleasing but disappointing given what I said about standards.”

March says his side are looking forward to playing on Newcastle’s 4G pitch.

“We know it’s going to be a tough task and obviously the field will be in perfect condition which I think will suit our style of rugby,” he said.

“We play Newcastle then North Wales at home; if we can get two good wins out of them we’ll be setting down markers and be on a roll.”

Loose forward Ash Lindsay should be back after missing the Hemel game with a head injury while David March is a doubt after picking up a hamstring injury.

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