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Pair return to gives Bees half-back options
Bradford & Bingley, who have lost their last five matches in SSE National League Three North, have received a timely boost ahead of their derby at home to Morley on Saturday.
The basement boys have former skipper Richard Scull, fly half Nick Wainwright and back-rower Dan Cookson available for the visit of the Maroons.
Scrum half Scull is back from Australia and could well pair up with Wainwright at half-back.
Bees’ first-team manager Benji Pickin said: “Henry Paul (director of rugby) tends to keep his cards pretty close to his chest but that is a possibility.”
Although the nap hand of defeats has sent the Bees to the bottom, Pickin has noticed some positives.
He said: “The performance at Sale was encouraging, as were the closing stages of the match against Huddersfield, when we got our two tries, after the result was a formality.
“We won 44-32 at Morley in September but they have had some good results since then.”
The Maroons have won five of their last seven, but Pickin added: “A win would be a nice way of ending the year.”
The Bees have 16 points and Morley are five places higher on 28 points, but three teams will go down.
Cleckheaton are heading SSE North One East and look good for promotion.
They are 14 points clear, and they will still have a handy lead even after they have five points deducted for a misdeameanour two seasons ago.
Understandably, they don’t want to miss out on derbies next season against the Bees and Morley, which would be the case if Cleckheaton were promoted and the Bees or Morley were relegated.
Cleck saw off Middlesbrough 45-10 at Moorend last Saturday, and their fixtures secretary Alan Bentley called their second-half display the best of the season so far.
He said: “Ross Hayden was head and shoulders the best player on the field.”
Paul Turner and Andy Piper, who started on the bench last weekend despite being first-choice props, are on the pitch from the off this weekend at Rochdale, who can be formidable foes.
Cleckheaton (at Rochdale): R Hayden; C Blackburn, J Wilson, Matt Piper, M Woodhead; Michael Piper, J Bickerdike; P Turner, B Thrower, A Piper, G Turton, R Piercy, R Afoa Peterson, R Piper, O Akroyd. Replacements: C Piper, A Dawson, James Marshall.
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