Sheffield Sharks are the only top four club in Budweiser League action this weekend, and their leading player, Roger Huggins, is the only England international on domestic duty before leaving with the national team on Monday for two games in Denmark.
Jim Brandon, the Sharks' coach whose team are to play Doncaster Panthers tonight, has already expressed his concern over player burn-out and Huggins, their leading scorer, is vital to Sheffield's defence of the league title. Laszlo Nemeth, the England coach, knows the 6ft 6in Huggins is equally vital to his preparations for the European Championship semi-final round game away to Russia on 28 February.
The two internationals against Denmark are followed by two games against Hungary at home on 20 and 21 February.
The absence of the World Invitation Club event for the first time in 19 years has left the New Year weekend unusually short of action.
Weather conditions could restrict the scheduled action in the Budweiser and National Leagues. Although Sheffield have the relatively short hop to Doncaster, Newcastle Comets are due to travel to Hemel Royals and Worthing Bears face a trip to Derby Storm.
ENGLAND (v Denmark): N Austin, S Bucknall, A Gardiner (all London Towers), R Baker, K Brown, I Whyte (all London Leopards), S Baker, T Gordon, M Payne (all Birmingham Bullets), P Grainger (Manchester Giants), R Huggins (Sheffield Sharks), P Scantlebury (Thames Valley Tigers).Reuse content