RUGBY PREVIEW: Durham Northumberland One: Durham City v Hartlepol Rovers

ROVERS RETURN; Stewart Grazier
ROVERS RETURN; Stewart Grazier

HARTLEPOOL Rovers coaches Graham Puckrin and Carl Robinson are looking to see their side complete a league double over long-time county rivals Durham City by winning at Hollow Drift (kick-off 3pm).

Rovers started the season with a 14-3 win over City at the Friarage and nine months on, the joint bosses hope to repeat the feat.

The West View Road team showed their best and worst side last week when they beat Gateshead 37-32.

Rovers, who still have to visit Consett in order to complete their Durham Northumberland One programme, look like ending the season in eighth.

Durham City have only won one more game – 15 compared to 14 by Rovers – but they are three spots and 14 points better off, largely due to the greater number of bonus points they have ammassed.

“Durham City went on a good run but they have tapered off a little bit.

“We beat them at the Friarage in the first game of the season and it was a close game.

”We had a good win last week against Gateshead – we leaked a lot of points but we scored more.

“The pack are playing well and we’ve changed around our backs a little bit and hopefully we’ll tighten up in defence.

“I think Durham City may have taken us a bit lightly when they came to our place and I’m sure they’ll be a bit better prepared this time.

“But we’ll go there full of confidence and hopefully we can get the win.”

Rovers are without hooker Jon Cushlow but they are able to welcome back Kevin Maguire who had a good start to the season before a suspension.

Puckrin and Robinson are also able to restore gifted back row player Stewart Grazier to their squad after a spell working away. The number eight is named on the bench alongside try-scoring prop Danny Cookland and back Daz Fawcett, who steps down for the return of Ian Coulson.

The powerful centre will have an important role tomorrow with Rovers looking for him to play the foil alongside Liam Austwicke who they will look to get into space and link up with the talented back three of Steven Barnfield, Adam Smith and Jack Gunn and use the wide expanses of Hollow Drift.

Gunn, back after playing for Hartlepool Sixth Form College at the national colleges event, comes in for Dave Gregory

Rovers: S Barnfield, J Gunn, L Austwicke, I Coulson, A Smith, J Evens, T Pelser, A Flounders, K Maguire, G Wise, D Langley, A Pinchen, M Wilson, L Maddison, A Dring (capt). Subs: D Cookland, S Grazier, D Fawcett