Rugby League: Lyon is likely to wait for his debut

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A HAMSTRING injury which has lingered throughout his self-imposed exile from the game is threatening David Lyon's debut for St Helens tomorrow.

Saints paid pounds 90,000 for one of Britain's most capable full-backs last weekend after Lyon had stayed away from Warrington in his determination to get a move.

He will take a fitness test today, but, rather than take any risk with him, the St Helens coach, Mike McClennan, has the experienced Phil Veivers standing by for the game against Salford.

It is a sign of St Helens' strength and flexibility in the backs this season that Alan Hunte, who has been playing admirably at full-back, can now return to his usual position of right wing, where McClennan feels he has the best chance of forcing his way into the World Cup final squad.

Two other wingers, Les Quirk and Mike Riley, are injured, but the current Great Britain centre, Gary Connolly, is fit to return after ankle trouble.

Salford took the calculated gamble of resting several first-teamers for the Lancashire Cup tie against Workington Town in midweek. Among those returning tomorrow will be Craig Coleman, whose outstanding form since arriving from South Sydney two weeks ago is one reason why Saints' unbeaten record will be under pressure at Knowsley Road.

Ellery Hanley and Alan Tait return for Leeds in the Yorkshire derby at Bradford. Hanley's comeback, after a recurrence of the hamstring problem that ruined his tour this summer, will be of particular interest to the Great Britain coach, Malcolm Reilly, who still harbours hopes that he could play a part against Australia next month.

Andy Gregory, out for the last two weeks following knee surgery and another player with an outside chance of resurrecting his international career at Wembley, could be fit to play again next week.

Oldham, the only unbeaten side in the Second Division, will be without Iva Ropati for their match against financially stricken Swinton. Ropati, the leading try-scorer in the division last season, has been suspended for two games after being sent off for a high tackle against Huddersfield last week.

The other favourites for promotion, Featherstone, have the Brisbane Valleys scrum-half, Brett Daunt, available to make his debut against Carlisle. They have also signed Richard Gunn from Leeds.