Doncaster Knights will be looking to make a winning return to Championship rugby against Bedford Blues at Goldington Road tomorrow (3pm).
Knights ended 2016 with back-to-back league wins to climb back into the top four but suffered successive B&I Cup defeats against Munster A before posting a 16-12 victory over Rotherham in their final Pool 2 game last weekend.
“The Rotherham game was a good test for us ahead of the trip to Bedford,” said team boss Clive Griffiths.
“Not only did we show good go-forward, but our scrambling defence was very impressive.”
Bedford, who finished fourth last season, have spent most of the current campaign languishing in the bottom half of the table. But Griffiths is under no illusions about the size of the task facing his side on the notorious sloping pitch at Goldington Road.
“I’ve watched their last three games and I don’t know why they are where they are in the table, because they are playing very well,” he said.
“On paper they probably aren’t the best defensive team in the Championship, but for some reason they always seem to turn that around when they play us.
“They are certainly a threat with the ball and scored two outstanding tries down at (league leaders) London Irish which not many teams have done.
“Their back three are very quick and they’ve got a couple of No 10s who can read the game. Their scrum-half is very quick so we’ll have to watch him.
“As I say, I’m expecting it to be tough and the extras between the posts could be a huge factor, as was the case last season when Dougie Flockhart kicked six penalties to win us the game 18-13.”