Doncaster RLFC v London Broncos: Thornton hopes for fitness sweetener

Gary Thornton

Gary Thornton

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New Dons boss Gary Thornton is hoping that several of the players who missed his first game in charge will be fit for Sunday’s testing Championship clash against London Broncos at Castle Park (3pm).

Having had to play two hookers at half-back in Sunday’s 72-6 defeat at Bradford Bulls, Thornton is keeping everything crossed that young scrum-half Richard Wilkinson will be fit to return.

The former Hull Academy star has played just a handful of games in an injury-hit season which has seen him under go two cartilage operations.

In each of the games he has played, he has helped give the side the spark at half-back they’ve missed for most of the campaign.

Thornton, who could be without several of the players who faced the Bulls, is also hoping to have the likes of second-rowers Steve Snitch and Mike Kelly and utility man Shaun Leaf available.

Whoever lines up for the Dons, in only their second ever game at the home of Doncaster Knights, Thornton will be looking for a massive improvement defensively.

“Our defence in the second half was just not acceptable at any level,” he said.

“I felt that we were still in the game at half time and we spoke about trying to get the first score on the board in the second half and close the (18-6) gap and see what came of it.

“But they scored three quick tries and that knocked the stuffing out of us.

“Admittedly we were busted in the second half having lost two players at half time and another played on with a neck injury but even so some of the stuff which went on out there was disappointing,” he added.

“Heads went down and we conceded some soft tries.”

Thornton has impressed both players and his coaching staff since taking over last week and remains confident he will turn things around.

“There’s a lot to work to do but it will get better,” he said.