Nottingham gear up for their first game of the season tonight as they host Yorkshire Carnegie in the Championship Cup, 7:45pm kick off.

Despite off-field trouble at tonight’s opponents Yorkshire, Head Coach Neil Fowkes is expecting a tough game at The Bay.

He said: “I think any side that puts on a shirt in the Championship is going to be a tough side. They’ve got some internationals and Premiership players in there as well.

“Joe Ford has been around this league and the Premiership for a while and they’ve got a couple of very good front-rowers as well, one being an international. Tom Varndell is in that squad as well who is top try-scorer in the Premiership so we’re expecting a very tough game.”

Carnegie announced the signings of 20 new players on 14th September after a turbulent time off the field at the Emerald Headingley Stadium.

“There’s been a lot of talk about Leeds and how they’ve gone on in the Summer but that gives them a massive opportunity to come out and show what they’re about, it actually writes their team talk for them,” said Fowkes. “They will be ultra-motivated to show what they can do and the coaching staff up there are all good men who will be looking to show what they can do and how they can come out fighting.”

Nottingham have been in pre-season training since June, and Fowkes says his players are just eager to get out on the field in a competitive game tonight.

He said: “The boys love playing at The Bay and a Friday night to kick us off after what’s been a long pre-season. We’re so excited just to get out there and play. There will be some nerves and teething issues as you would expect with a newer side but we’re looking to get out there and show The Bay what we can do. We want to make this place a fortress and make it a place that teams don’t want to come and play.”