Jos Baxendell, who made his England debut at fly-half in place of an injured Jonny Wilkinson on England's ill-fated tour Down Under in 1997, will celebrate his ten years as a Sale Shark by taking over the fly-half role from Charlie Hodgson when the Sharks take on NEC Harlequins at Edgeley Park tomorrow (7.45pm kick-off).
The Sharks will be fielding a much changed side because of England calls and a long list of injuries. Although the club provided three players to England for Saturday's game against the New Zealand Barbarians, a fourth, hooker Andy Titterrell, was called up when Northampton's Steve Thompson withdrew. Hodgson withdrew from the England side because of a knee injury.
Coach Jim Mallinder said: "It is all out of our control and we will just get on with the job we have to do here. We hope to have Stu Pinkerton and Steve Hanley back from injury but they will face late fitness tests. "We still have Pete Anglesea, Dan Harris, Alex Sanderson, Bryan Redpath and Christian Day on the injured list and have brought in several youngsters on to the bench."
Baxendell, the club's longest serving player, will partner Nick Walshe at half-back and, providing Hanley comes through all right, Vaughan Going will make the switch back to full-back to cover for Jason Robinson, who is with England.
In-form prop Andrew Sheridan is also with the England squad so his place in the front row is taken by Kevin Yates, who returns from a two-match suspension.
The youngsters on the bench will be joined by local teenager Ben Lloyd, who played in the second row for England Schools last season and joined the club's development side during the summer.
TEAM: Vaughan Going; Mark Cueto, Braam van Straaten, Graeme Bond, Steve Hanley; Jos Baxendell, Nick Walshe; Kevin Yates, Matt Cairns, Barry Stewart, Dean Schofield, Iain Fullarton, Jason White, Chris Jones, Stu Pinkerton.
REPLACEMENTS: Johnny Roddam, Stuart Turner, Ben Lloyd, Magnus Lund, James Hoyle, Chris Mayor, Richard Wigglesworth.