Aviva Premiership
Cockerill allays concerns over Croft
ESPNscrum Staff
December 3, 2011
Leicester flanker Tom Croft breaks away from Mark Cueto, Sale Sharks v Leicester Tigers, Aviva Premiership, Edgeley Park, Stockport, England, October 28, 2011
Tom Croft is one of the names in the frame for the England captaincy © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Richard Cockerill | Tom Croft
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Teams: England

Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill has played down concerns over Tom Croft's injury after the England back-row joined the lengthy list of casualties at Welford Road.

The flanker was omitted from the side for this weekend's East Midlands derby with Northampton and with the likes of Jordan Crane already out of action, Tigers fans feared the worse. But there is renewed optimism at Welford Road following the return of Ben Youngs from injury and Cockerill claims Croft will be back sooner rather than later.

"Crofty took a bit of a knock at Gloucester last weekend, so we've kept him out," Cockerill said. "It is nothing serious, but Steve Mafi has been in good form, too, and he brings his own strengths to that position."

Leicester currently have the worst Premiership home record of any team in the league, losing three and drawing one from four previous starts this term. But their recent form in all competitions is strong, including a win on Gloucester soil and claiming successive Heineken Cup victories over Treviso and Ulster.

Looking ahead to Northampton's visit, Cockerill added: "It's one of those fixtures everyone looks for right at the start of the season. The players love to be involved in the big occasions.

"Saints had a big win last weekend (against Saracens) and we know their qualities. We had a good win at Kingsholm and it sets up everything for a big game in front of a capacity crowd."

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