Blues must overcome tough test in Derbyshire

Andy Byrne will be missing from the Blues side to face Ilkeston this weekend
Andy Byrne will be missing from the Blues side to face Ilkeston this weekend

Kettering travel to Ilkeston this weekend keen to end the first half of their season on a positive note.

It has been a tough opening to the campaign for the Blues but their results have picked up in the last couple of months.

However, it will be a tough task for them at Ilkeston against a side who have beaten Midlands One big-hitters Peterborough Lions and National Three strugglers Derby in recent weeks.

Their challenge is made all the more difficult by the absence of Rory Keir and Andy Byrne as well as the continued absence through injury of vice-captain Joe Newman.

Josh Cox is available again and he takes his place in the front row alongside Steve Freyer and Shane Ling.

In the second row Graham Wilson and Jamie Bishop renew their partnership. This releases captain Chris Chapman to revert to his preferred back-row position alongside Colt Jamie Manly, who made an outstanding debut last time out, and Tom Scarr.

Outside, Ben Dawson returns to the side at fly-half in place of Byrne with the rest of the backs the same as the winning side against Loughborough.

Damien Conyard is set to make his debut from the bench in place of the unavailable Kieran Cox.

The seconds include five Colts in their squad as they entertain Luton Development side.

Luis Santos returns to lead a side which includes Damien Adcock at scrum-half and a number of players who have impressed at third-team level this season.

The fourths host Milton Keynes and the Colts field a very young side in their home game against Huntingdon.