BACK row Olly Povoas makes his first National League One start for Coventry in Saturday’s game at Ampthill.
The 20-year-old has been out since suffering a knee injury in the third game of the season against Macclesfield, but is back to full fitness and played a half for the Nighthawks at Cambridge University last night.
“Olly is a hard-working, grafting young player and I’ve always been very impressed with him,” said director of rugby, Rowland Winter. “He’s worked hard to get himself fit.
“He gives us a nice balance to the back row and is a very talented player.”
Povoas will play at open side with captain Eoghan Grace moving across to blind side at the expense of Tom Jubb.
Elsewhere in the pack, prop Phil Boulton and lock Brendon Snyman return after missing last week’s win over Blaydon. Boulton replaces Jimmy Litchfield, who goes to the bench, and Snyman takes over from Rob Conquest who, along with prop Andy Brown, picked up a slight knock against Blaydon.
Matt Price comes off the bench to start at hooker in an exchange with Scott Tolmie.
In the backs, James Stokes is back from injury at full-back with James Pritchard reverting to the wing in place of Dan Rundle, and Corey Hircock resumes at centre for Cliffie Hodgson after sitting out last week.
The starting half-backs are Will Maisey and Pete White, who come off the bench to change places with Tony Fenner and Rhodri Adamson.
Cov were beaten in last season’s corresponding fixture, and Winter acknowledges that they will need to be at their best as they seek to extend their winning run to five games.
“Ampthill, by their own admission, are a power side, big up front, and they will enjoy the physical battle, which is a reason why Tom Jubb misses out in the second row to Tom Poole, who has a strong, physical approach.
“They also have a talented set of backs, and they enjoy making it a difficult place to go to and get a result.
“We are confident on the back of four hard-fought wins and are looking to put in another strong away performance.
“Cliffie is really impressing with what he’s doing after a long time out, he got a good 80 minutes under his belt last week and is pushing, while we are continuing to help Dan to develop his all-round game to add to the try-scoring prowess he showed last week. It makes it difficult that we can only have two backs on the bench.”
Scrum-half Sam Grasso is back running following his lengthy lay-off due to a knee injury suffered against Birmingham Moseley and will begin his return to training over the next few weeks. Winger Max Trimble, whose loan to Nuneaton – along with Rundle – was only a short-term option, is approximately three to four weeks away from a return to training with a shoulder injury.
Flanker Sam Harry is on the bench for Wasps in the Anglo-Welsh Cup game against Worcester on Sunday with Ali Bone among the travelling reserves.
Kick-off at Ampthill is 2.15pm.
COVENTRY: 15 James Stokes, 14 James Pritchard, 13 Corey Hircock, 12 Tom Wheatcroft, 11 Rob Knox, 10 Will Maisey, 9 Pete White, 1 Boris Stankovich, 2 Matt Price, 3 Phil Boulton, 4 Tom Poole, 5 Brendon Snyman, 6 Eoghan Grace (captain), 7 Olly Povoas, 8 Darrel Dyer.
Replacements: 16 Scott Tolmie, 17 Jimmy Litchfield, 18 Brett Daynes, 19 Rhodri Adamson 20 Tony Fenner.