CLECKHEATON may still be looking for a replacement for lock Luke Pearson, but the North One East side are in decent shape as they prepare for their second pre-season friendly tonight.

The Moorenders are at home to normal Boxing Day foes Old Brodleians (7.30), and have signed utility back Ben Dearing from Driffield and former Bradford Bulls winger Alex Brown.

Having witnessed their backs cut free in the second half against Billingham, the focus could well be on the pack when Otley take on visitors Ilkley tomorrow (1.30) in their final pre-season friendly.

Ben Magee grabbed the headlines with a hat-trick at Cross Green last weekend in a 48-24 victory, while fellow former Ilkley backs Steve Nolson and Paul Petchey were also among the try-scorers, as were Brett Mitchell and new boy Lewis Cooper.

"It was a good performance," said Otley's director of rugby Charlie Maunder, "and we got out of it what we needed.

"People think that just because you play a side from a league below then you are going to run in a lot of points, but the leagues are fairly even and they are a very good side.

"Some players from last season came on at half-time and we won that period 38-12, but this weekend we will give lads a chance to have some game-time who haven't had so much, while resting those who are carrying knocks as we build towards our first National League Two North league match at Fylde on September 1."

Maunder added: "We are going to be pack heavy this season, and our likely forwards tomorrow will be George Burkinshaw, Ben Steele, Will Scholey, Declan Dunn, Simon Willett, Jack Leibster, Adam Malthouse and Louis Frazer.

"Louis has signed for us from Bradford & Bingley, while among the backs we will be giving an opportunity to 18-year-old Kieran Wileyman at 12, who has been with us since he was a Zebra and has played in both of our pre-season games so far and is likely to get his chance in a league game at some stage."

Wharfedale also play their last pre-season friendly tomorrow at home to Rotherham Titans (3.00).

However, the Greens’ director of rugby Rob Baldwin admitted that the clash against a club who were in the Greene King IPA Championship last season is a step into the unknown.

He said: “We don’t know much about them and they don’t know much about us, but, although we have one or two unavailable (it is Bank Holiday weekend after all), we are getting closer to the team we will field in the first National League Two North fixture at Peterborough Lions a week tomorrow.”

One of those who is missing is 17-year-old centre Ryan Hodgson, and Baldwin said: “He has done well in both of the last two matches and I am sure that he will play some part in our season.”

Also catching the eye in Wharfedale’s 21-21 draw at home to Blaydon last Saturday was new signing Sam Booker from Keighley.

Baldwin said of his former Rose Cottage team-mate: “Sam’s pre-season has been hampered by an ankle injury, but he is keen to learn, and once he is fully fit he too will play a part in our campaign.”

Wharfedale’s points against Blaydon came from a penalty try and tries by prop Booker and back-rower Matty Houghton.