PLYMOUTH Albion are sweating on the fitness of props Christian Judge and Ollie Dawe ahead of Saturday’s big home match against third-placed Blackheath.
Both players picked up injuries in Albion’s last game against Darlington Mowden Park at the start of this month.
Judge damaged his shoulder that ruled him out of England Counties’ match against France Federale last Friday night, while teenager Dawe suffered a head injury.
Number eight Herbie Stupple and winger Ethan Ford also picked up knocks against Darlington, while centre Marc Koteczky damaged his back in training and lock Dan Collier has not featured since Albion’s win over Henley after taking a bang to the head.
Albion’s director of rugby Graham Dawe is hoping all will be available to face Blackheath, but admits the club’s biggest concerns are over the two props, who have been regular starters this season.
“Ollie’s been advised not to train until later in the week,” said Plymouth boss Dawe. “We will then have to see what he can do and whether he will be able to be involved.
“Christian Judge and Herbie Stupple both took heavy knocks in the last game but have done some limited training this week. Both are not yet 100 per cent and the key will be the Wednesday and Thursday training sessions. There is more hope on Herbie than Christian.
“Dan Collier has been training and been going well so we don’t expect any issues there but he still has a couple more sessions to get through.
“Marc Koteczky is back in full training. Ethan Ford is also training but not quite up to full speed yet but he is certainly moving more freely. Hopefully, he will be up to 100 per cent by Thursday.”
Dawe admits any injury to a front-row forward is a worry but he is confident the club would be able to cope if neither of his first choice props were fit for Saturday.
“It is always a concern that a prop will go down at any minute,” said Dawe. “But we just have to wait and see.
“James Penman played 25 minutes at loose-head at Darlington and Dan Pullinger had two outstanding games for us against Cinderford and Henley. We also have Dean Brooker on stand-by.”
Dawe, though, would like his strongest squad to select from for Saturday’s match. Albion find themselves just one point behind Blackheath in the table and a victory at the weekend could move them into the top three.