NEWCASTLE Falcons' preparations for the biggest game in their history are not being helped by injuries.

Three weeks before the Heineken Cup quarter-final against Stade Francais in Paris, boss Rob Andrew is considering having Jonny Wilkinson on the bench at Harlequins on Sunday, but Matt Burke and Colin Charvis are still unfit.

There is no game next weekend, but it is hoped they will all play at home to Bath the following Sunday.

"We are hoping to get them some game time before the quarter-final," said Andrew. "Jonny has done everything with us this week, including contact and kicking, so there's every chance he will take some part on Sunday.

"If he plays and he's fully fit on Monday morning it becomes a selection call for England for their last match against Scotland. If he is fully fit all he needs is game time and we can't give him that next week, whereas England can."

Dave Walder will start at fly half on Sunday in place of Mark Wilkinson, with Joe Shaw returning after injury at full back.

Mathew Tait and Phil Dowson will be on the bench after training with the England Sevens squad all week, and their places are taken by Ollie Phillips and Semo Sititi.

Phillips will be on the wing with Tom May switching to centre, while Ian Peel returns to captain the side at loose head in place of James Isaacson.

The final decision on the make-up of the bench depends partly on how Toby Flood, Stuart Mackie and Lee Dickson come through for England Under 21s tonight.

Definitely among the replacements, and hoping to get on for the first time, will be Argentinian prop Galo Alvarez Quinones, who will then fly to Buenos Aires on Monday for a week's training camp with the national squad.

Sititi has been called into the Samoan squad for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong next weekend, where he will be up against Tait and Dowson as Samoa are in the same group as England.

The main focus in the battle for survival in National Three North will be on Dudley Kingswinford v Blaydon tomorrow as if the Midlanders win it then becomes a six-team scrap.

They are next to the bottom, six points behind Darlington Mowden Park and seven adrift of Blaydon, but a win for Dudley would tighten things up as Mowden's recent form does not suggest they will take anything from a trip to third-placed Bradford and Bingley.

Nor can Rugby Lions expect anything away to leaders Halifax, but they will be desperate to win next week at home to Dudley.

Mowden have Danny Brown available tomorrow and fellow prop Ian Keeligan expects to be OK after bravely defying his back problem for 80 minutes at Bedford Athletic last week.

Back row man Matt Holmes is fit again, but cannot expect to displace Kelekolio Paino, who got through 70 minutes on his return last week and could yet play a key role.

Iain Dixon, who has had the goal-kicking role during Mark Bedworth's absence, is unavailable for next week's crucial home game against Tynedale.

Darlington will be unchanged for the visit of Bedford, with skipper Paul Lee still ruled out by a broken finger. Richard Lang will come on to the bench for Durham Under 20s winger Fraser Monahan.

Middlesbrough must win at home to bottom club Sheffield if they are to have any hope of surviving in North One.

In a clash between two clubs graced by former England fly half Alan Old in more prosperous times for both, Boro are looking for a double after a comfortable early-season win at Sheffield, who have won only once all season.

Stockton can virtually ensure safety in North Two East by winning at Morpeth, who are five points adrift of them in next to bottom place. Flanker Brett Wildridge returns and Stockton hope full back Andy Bare will be fit.

West Hartlepool will also breathe more easily if they win at home to Malton and Norton, who are a place above them in mid-table.