DICCON EDWARDS has ordered his Leeds Carnegie troops to provide some home entertainment against Moseley tomorrow. (October 16)
Carnegie, buoyed by last weekend’s first Championship away-day win of the campaign at London Scottish, go into the game in improved spirits.
But having largely struggled at home this term, with a narrrow triumph over Bristol sandwiched between second-best performances in defeats to London Welsh and Doncaster Knights, Edwards doesn’t need telling twice of the need for a good public relations exercise in front of home spectators at Headingley.
Carnegie must make do without skipper Andy Titterrell, on the sidelines after suffering a metatarsal injury late on in last weekend’s win, for the clash.
Moseley, of course, famously beat Leeds 23-18 in their last meeting in the final of the EDF Energy National Trophy at Twickenham back in April 2009 as they lifted silverware at headquarters for the first time in their 136-year history.
On tomorrow’s clash against second-from-bottom Mose – one place below Leeds in the table – Edwards said: “I feel we’re progressing as a team, but we’ve got to make sure we put on a real good home performance now for the loyal supporters we’ve got.
“There was a much more positive feeling after the result last Saturday and it was just rewards for the efforts the players put in and a much-improved performance.
“I think we built on what we did against Doncaster and went to another level, which was really pleasing.
“Equally, I thought we showed real resilence at times, obviously with losing Andy, who is our captain and a real figurehead for us.
“The game got quite tense with about 15 minutes to go as they got back into it, but I thought we finished really strongly with good composure and took our opportunities – and we got our just rewards with our first away win of the season.
“We just hope we can continue to build on that now, looking forward to our next two league games, both at home.”
Back on deck for Carnegie is former skipper and redoubtable packman Mike MacDonald, following his World Cup commitments with the US.
The 30-year-old made his presence felt off the bench in last week’s win at Scottish – providing a telling cameo – and Edwards feels the American’s vast experience will come into its own over the coming months.
He added: “It’s nice to have that solidity back in our team.
“Mike’s going to be a key figure for us moving forward and will add considerable experience and quality as a player, on and off the pitch.
“So it’s nice to have him back and I’m sure he’ll only get better as he understands exactly how we like to try and play.”
The record-breaking prop will start against Moseley and young hooker Scott Freer comes in for his first start of the season in place of Titterrell.
Leeds received a further boost with the news full-back Stevie McColl returns from injury on the bench, along with Scott Barrow.
Leeds Carnegie (to face Moseley, 3pm tomorrow): Bell, Stephenson, Blackett, Barker, Richards, Ford, Shaw, MacDonald, Freer, Swainston, D Barrow, Beck, Rowan, Walker, Burrows. Replacements: Nilsen, Denman, Hemingway, Rieder, Hampson, S Barrow, McColl.