TEESSIDER Anthony Elliott is looking forward to teaming up again with Australian full back Matt Burke when Newcastle Falcons visit London Irish tomorrow.

Burke was a late withdrawal with a knee injury when Elliott made an impressive comeback on the left wing in the home win against Saracens two weeks ago.

The Stockton-born speed merchant, once clocked at under 11 seconds for the 100 metres, was out for ten weeks with a shoulder injury after making an immediate impact following his summer move from Rotherham.

"It was a bit of a setback, but the lads have been really supportive," he said. "I was happy with my comeback and now, from a winger's point of view, having Matt Burke back in the team is fantastic.

"He's constantly in your ear telling you where to go and sensing what's going to happen next. We all communicate well, but you notice that when he says something during a game he's invariably right.

"London Irish have been doing really well and they are known for having a quick back three, which we will have to contain.

"But the Madejski Stadium is a place teams like to visit. The facilities are really good and you get a sense that it isn't a home stadium for them in the way Kingston Park is for us because they go there once a fortnight and share it with a football club."

Elliott did well to finish off a superb break by Mathew Tait against Saracens, but with Tait on England Sevens duty and Jamie Noon playing for England in Rome, Mark Mayerhofler and Joe Shaw form a new centre pairing.

"Having Mark back after his Achilles injury is a big boost," said Director of Rugby Rob Andrew. "And we all know Joe is an excellent footballer capable of adapting to a number of positions.

"He scored a good try against Saracens so I'm quite excited about our midfield this week."

Andrew will also relish the opportunity to send Jonny Wilkinson off the bench for his first outing since the 23-20 home defeat by Irish in November.

The management will also keep a keen eye on Andy Buist, a highly-rated lock who is being tried at No 8 in the absence of skipper Colin Charvis.

"He has finished a few games for us at No 8 and played a lot of junior rugby there," said Andrew. "He has all the necessary skills - he's a great athlete with fantastic hands and I believe he can develop there as well as in the second row."

The Falcons are unbeaten in nine of their last ten games and Andrew said: "February is an interesting month for us with huge tests against Irish, Gloucester and Leicester, which will show us how much progress we have made.

"Winning at Brive gave us a lot of confidence going into the Saracens match, when we were outstanding in some areas while others were not up to scratch, so we're not getting carried away.

"Irish have a good team with an excellent pack and Brian Smith has done a marvellous job in taking them to the next level. Mike Catt has had a huge influence behind the scrum but we believe we can beat anybody at the moment if we play to our potential."

Blaydon's first-choice back row all return for a tough National Three North match at Fylde which they cannot afford to lose if they are to stay in the promotion hunt.

Skipper Dave Guthrie is back after missing the hard-fought win at Macclesfield, while Pat Segi and Ed Thorpe return after longer absences.

Michael Campbell is fit to resume at full back, so Simon Barber reverts to the wing with James Kyle switching to scrum half.

Darlington Mowden Park are to pitch new signing Anthony Mellaliew straight in at fly half in their relegation battle at Leicester Lions.

A former Preston Grasshoppers player, he is joined in the squad by fellow Newcastle student Robert Kalbraier, a prop who will surprisingly be joined on the bench by Eni Gisende.

Newcastle have apparently told Gisende he will not have a contract next season, but they want to put him in the shop window by playing him in their Development XV on Monday night.

Chris Trew and Sam Cataki will be on the wings for Mowden, with Seo Atelemo moving up to centre to allow Iain Dixon to play in his best position at full back.

Darlington have named Adam Kibirige on the wing as Simon Crozier is unavailable for the trip to Hull Ionians. An otherwise full-strength side is expected to feature Fijians Joe Naga and Apenai Kororua.

Falcons' flanker Ed Williamson is to continue his comeback from injury by playing for Tynedale and is in the side to visit New Brighton, while skipper Phil Belgian also returns after a five-week absence.

Middlesbrough recall Richie Barker at blind side in place of Mark Kerruish for the visit of Chester in North One.

Scrum half Peter Wright is also back after a month's absence through injury and Chris Horton comes back into the front row, with Craig Chapman dropping to the bench.

Dave Stubbs is in Rome for the weekend and misses the chance to see his improving West Hartlepool side avenge their 9-6 defeat at Stockton.

John Stabler will be in charge of a side in which Andy Hare replaces winger Chris Lambert in the only change from the side which pushed Darlington all the way in the county cup.

Lambert is to go with the colts for their national cup tie at Moseley and, along with West flanker Aaron Myers, is also named in the Newcastle Falcons Under 18 squad to face the Borders at Tynedale tomorrow (2pm).

For the trip to Percy Park, Durham City recall Ben Stevenson at scrum half with skipper Jeff Roberts reverting to open side, while Grant Thompson is tried at inside centre. Ralph Smith returns at full back and Mark Cammiss at loose head.

* Newcastle Falcons have already sold 7,500 tickets for their Friday Night Live match against Leicester on February 24. The East Stand has sold out, but anyone interested in tickets for other parts of Kingston Park is urged to ring 0871 226 6060.