Dons blow as full back Butterfield is ruled out

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THE Dons will lack star full-back Mick Butterfield in Sunday’s Northern Rail Cup Pool B derby clash against Sheffield Eagles at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Butterfield picked up several injuries in last Sunday’s game against York City Knights, the worst of which is a knee problem.

“Hopefully he’ll be back for the Hunslet game,” said Dons’ boss Tony Miller.

“It’s a blow as far as Sunday’s game because he’s been going well for us as he did all last season.”

Miller has got several options but is likely to go with close-season signing Tom Hodson, whose appearances to date have all been on the wing. Miller is also sweating on the fitness of former Super League star Paul Cooke.

“Paul went over on his ankle in the last play of the game against York and I don’t know if he’ll be fit,” said Miller.

“It’s probably a 50-50 call at this moment in time. We’ll probably have a better idea after tonight’s training session.

“It would be disappointing if he didn’t play, but it is one of those things; we’ve got a decent squad.”

Better news for Miller is that Andy Townend, who broke a bone in his hand when the two sides met in a pre-season friendly, has been given the all-clear to resume playing.

Miller says his team took great heart from running Eagles close in that game.

“They’ll have a few players playing on Sunday who didn’t play in that game but so will we,” he said.

“We know it is going to be tough. They finished runners-up in the division above us last year and they have a lot of good players throughout the side. Menzie Yere in the centre will be a big threat and he takes some stopping with ball in hand and I’ve been an admirer of Dom Brambini for a few years.

“We’ll probably need to raise our game from last weekend and we’ve worked on certain aspects in training this week.

“We need to win if we are to retain hopes of progressing to the knock-out stages.”