DONCASTER KNIGHTS: Francis set for Bedford start

STARTER: Tomas Francis will make his return to the Knights' starting XV against Bedford.
STARTER: Tomas Francis will make his return to the Knights' starting XV against Bedford.

BIG Tomas Francis will make his first competitive start of the season as the Knights welcome Bedford Blues to Castle Park on Friday night.

Francis impressed in a surprise cameo appearance in the defeat at Rotherham last weekend following a speedy return to fitness.

The youngster will replace Brian McGovern in the front row against high flying Bedford.

Double try scorer Jethro Rawling will miss the clash with David Bradford coming in at openside flanker while Adam Kettle returns in place of Andy Boyde.

The only change in the backs sees Will Simpson return at inside centre in place of James Tincknell who drops to the bench.

Despite the Knights poor start to the season, the visit of Bedford will hold no fear.

The Knights were 33-12 winners in last season’s corresponding fixture after probably their best performance of the season.

Davey’s side dropped to the foot of the Championship last weekend and will be determined to move clear of the one relegation spot as soon as possible.

Visitors Bedford travel to Castle Park on the back of defeats against Bristol and Newcastle Falcons which ended their unbeaten start to the campaign.

The Blues will be without skipper and top points scorer James Pritchard who is away on international duty with Canada.

Dual registration players Ben Ransom and Luke Baldwin are with parent club Saracens this week.

And Ollie Dodge, Chris Locke and James Stephenson are all out with injury.

Knights to face Bedford: 15 Jamie Lennard; 14 Dougie Flockhart; 13 Dante Mama; 12 Will Simpson; 11 Tyson Lewis; 10 Tom Luke; 9 Chris Hallam; 1 Tom Davies; 2 Rhys Buckley; 3 Tomas Francis; 4 Matt Challinor; 5 Dominic Parsons; 6 Adam Kettle; 7 David Bradford; 8 Chris Planchant.

Replacements; 16 Ben Sowery; 17 Brian McGovern; 18 Phil Hoy; 19 Sam Pailor; 20 Andy Boyde; 21 James Munro; 22 James Tincknell.

Bedford: 15 Mark Atkinson; 14 Mark Kohler; 13 Brendan Burke; 12 Henry Staff; 11 Josh Bassett; 10 Jake Sharp; 9 Darryl Veenendaal; 1 Ricky Reeves; 2 Scott Spurling; 3 Dan Seal; 4 Mike Howard; 5 Alex Rae; 6 Gregor Gillanders; 7 Darren Fox; 8 Paul Tupai.

Replacements: 16 Neil Cochrane; 17 Darren Fearn; 18 Ben Cooper; 19 Ben Gulliver; 20 Don Barrell; 21 Ali Price; 22 Ian Vass.