Ashbrooke pack intact for key away day

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SUNDERLAND travel to Durham and Northumberland Division Two basement boys Prudhoe and Stocksfield on Saturday hoping for another five-point haul.

With a solitary win to their name and having shipped more than 1,000 points in 23 games, Prudhoe have been the league’s whipping boys this term, but they will be looking to bow out with a bang by upsetting Sunderland’s promotion push.

The Ashbrooke men go into the game full of confidence after three wins on the bounce and, despite a number of changes in the backline, manage to name a strong squad.

The pack has a familiar look about it, with no changes made from last weekend’s starting eight.

In the backline, Sunderland are without scrum half Gav Stirling, but, in Michael Brace, they have a capable replacement as he continues to defy his advancing years.

All of Sunderland’s regular centres are unavailable, so the return of Lewis Sopp from university could not have been more timely.

Dom Arkley shifts in from the wing to cover at outside centre.

Dan Abraham returns on the wing and Pete Garvie is retained in the starting line-up after a good showing last week.

Michael Heffernan completes the Sunderland line-up at full-back.

Sunderland I (meet 1pm): Martinez, Harrison, Geehan, Carter, Belfield, Drummond, Watt, Brace, Townend, Abraham, Sopp, Arkley, Garvie, Heffernan. Reps: Ross, Arrowsmith, O’Donovan