FORMER Gloucester captain and Cinderford’s latest recruit Adam Balding is awaiting further tests to ascertain the extent of the damage done to his leg last weekend, writes Laura Fell.
The back row forward sustained a lower leg injury in the Foresters’ 62-28 bonus-point defeat on Saturday, and was replaced by Gloucester flanker George Mills in the second half.
Now Balding must have further tests on Friday and will certainly miss Cinderford’s home clash with Richmond on Saturday.
This latest setback comes after a neck injury in Cinderford’s 31-29 home defeat to Coventry saw the former London Welsh number eight taken to hospital.
Free-scoring winger Nev Codlin also suffered a lower leg injury in the first half against Doncaster and is out for this weekend’s game.
Cinderford have a wealth of strength and depth in the back row, with Roger Birkin, Marcus Brown, Joe Garner, Mills and Will Keenan on the fringes of the starting XV.
And 26-year-old Keenan is ready for the chance to prove his worth.
The former Preston Grasshoppers man recovered from injury earlier this term to make appearances for United, before returning to the first team against Coventry and the 23-11 win over Hull.
After being rested for the Doncaster clash, Keenan is raring to go against a side who beat Cinderford 55-20 earlier in the season.
He said: “Adam has been a massive bonus for us.
“His experience has been fantastic for the squad and he is always giving us tips to improve our game.
“But there are plenty of boys ready to step up. I can bring a real work-rate to the squad, and a lot of passion.
“That is massive. I don’t play for myself, I play for the boys. Everyone gives their heart and soul for the club.
“I know we’ve had mixed results but that is not through lack of trying. I am improving every week, and I am up for the Richmond game after a terrible result there earlier this season.”
Balding remains optimistic about his diagnosis and the 34-year-old is already looking ahead to how Cinderford can put things right after a heavy defeat at the hands of the league leaders last weekend.
The former Worcester, Newcastle and Leicester man said: “It has been good to get my boots back on. They are a great bunch of lads and a young group too.
“We never wanted to concede 62 points and shouldn’t have done, but they are top of the table.
“We are hard on ourselves though, and we need to stop giving teams an easy way out.
“We didn’t make Doncaster work hard – they capitalised on our mistakes. We scored two of the best tries we’ve scored all season. But then to give away interception tries, and give them field position and chances to score is not acceptable. But the lads are aware of this and are working hard to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”