RUGBY LEAGUE: Three-month lay-off for full-back Butterfield

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HOPES that Doncaster full-back Mick Butterfield would be back before the end of the season have been dashed.

The strong-running No 1 will be out for three months following midweek surgery on the hand he broke in Sunday’s thrilling Championship One victory over table-topping Barrow at the Keepmoat Stadium.

“Mick had some screws inserted into the broken bone and he won’t play again this season,” said Dons boss Tony Miller

Back-rower Fran Welsh also faces a long lay-off after both breaking an ankle and rupturing his ankle ligaments after being carried off in the same game.

“It’s a big blow and it took some of the gloss off the win,” said Miller.

Better news for Miller, who recently lost goal-kicking winger Tom Hodson (broken thumb) for what is likely to be the rest of the season, is that both dual-registered backs Danny Cowling and Liam Cunningham could be available for next Thursday’s visit of new leaders Workington Town.

Neither man has played since returning to fitness after long injury absences, but they are both scheduled to play for the Under-20 teams of their Super League clubs.

“If they come through then they will come into contention for the Workington game,” said Miller, who will have to decide whether to move leading try-scorer Lee Waterman from centre, or Cumbrian-born winger Stu Sanderson to replace Butterfield against Town.

Long-serving back-rower Craig Lawton is in contention for a place in Miller’s squad, after several weeks on the sidelines with a back problem, after proving his fitness in training this week.

There could also be a recall for fellow forward Grant Edwards, also back in full training after being sidelined for several months with a serious shoulder injury.

“Grant’s looking all right in training but I’ve not decided whether I will play him or not next week; it’s a massive game,” said Miller.