YORKSHIRE CARNEGIE boss Chris Stirling insists his beleaguered squad have been “lifted” by the return from injury of some key personnel and the club’s recent recruitment.
They host London Scottish tonight on the back of a record 72-5 loss at promotion-chasing London Irish last Saturday.
It was a sixth defeat from seven Championship games this term and they remain rooted firmly to the bottom of the table.
However, they have some influential players fit again this evening such as long-serving centre Pete Lucock and experienced lock Mike Myerscough.
Carnegie have also re-signed ex-Wales prop Craig Mitchell from Newcastle Falcons and he comes straight into the starting XV while it has been announced Kiwi signings Jade Te Rure and Antonio Kiri Kiri could arrive before the end of the month.
“Having Pete Lucock back will be a real lift,” said Stirling.
“We’ve still got a way to go with some of the injured boys but having Mike Myerscough back after a week off, Pete and Joe Buckle really does move us in the right direction.
“When I was here for the last five games of last season, Craig (Mitchell) was a stand-out with the level of professionalism he brought to the environment.
“It was something we needed to match – his onfield ability, scrummaging and general play around the field
“It mirrored he’s an international player and that now gives a massive lift in confidence for those around him in the tight-five.”
Stirling maintains he has been pleased with his squad’s response after last week’s “embarrassing” defeat as they prepare to face a Scottish side who themselves have only won just twice so far this term.
“Our week starts early on Monday morning with a strategy meeting where we sit down and ask the players their opinions about what they’ve seen about the team we’re playing the next week,” he explained.
“How should we attack them, how we should defend them... as it’s important that the players have an input into that.
“It’s not compulsory.
“We had the full squad turn up to it on Monday morning so that just shows me these guys do care.
“They were extremely embarrassed and disappointed with the outcome against Irish but there’s two ways you can deal with it.
“They can hide away or front up and, fair play to them, they’ve fronted up.”
Stirling makes five changes in total with Lucock replacing Dan Moor and Tom Bullough switching to the wing.
Oli Fox comes back in at scrum-half for JB Bruzulier who is on the bench.
As well as Mitchell, in the front-row Buckle replaces Dylan Donnellan at hooker. Myerscough replaces Matt Smith who is ruled out for a week with a neck injury.
Meanwhile, young Queenslander Lachlan Currie is a back-row converting to hooker who has Scottish heritage and could debut off the bench having been training with the club for the last six weeks.