ILKLEY are set to ring the changes for Saturday’s home clash with Sandal.

Head of rugby Rhys Morgan has always tended to be loyal to his players. However, disappointing North Premier League defeats by Kirkby Lonsdale and Billingham, and an impressive performance by the second team in beating Driffield last week, has influenced his thinking.

With the first-team’s match at Rossendale called off, the second string took their chance to show what they could do.

Morgan said: “I was impressed with all of them. It was a good team performance in which many individuals gave me plenty to think about.

“I am not usually one who likes to make lots of changes, but perhaps it is time to freshen things up and try a different approach.”

A number of players could make their debuts against Sandal. New second row Jack Cleet caught the eye and scored a try, while there was a lively first performance of the season from hooker Harry Wales.

He has been recovering from a broken leg and the former Otley player was a lively presence throughout.

Another player who took the chance to stake a claim for a first-team chance is centre Struan Connor.

He impressed with his pace and direct running which brought him two tries in a 40-minute outing as a replacement.

Morgan, who is desperate to avenge the 37-14 defeat his side suffered at Sandal earlier in the season, said: “It is good to have players battling for selection.

“Perhaps I have been a bit cautious in the past and resisted making changes unless they were forced on me.

“Maybe this is the time for Plan B. We do need to liven things up and I feel sure that we have players in the second team now who can come in and make an impact.”

In Morgan’s view Ilkley were not up for the game as much as Sandal when they last met.

The former Ilkley trio of Nick Carolan, Tom Baxter and Steve Nolson were fired up and inspired their colleagues to produce a big effort.