HALIFAX have added Super League neighbours Huddersfield and Championship rivals Leigh to their pre-season fixture list.
Nathan Brown’s Giants, who played several home games at the Shay this summer while the Galpharm Stadium pitch was being renovated, will visit the Shay on Sunday, January 29 (3.0).
That game will now be the third outing for new boss Karl Harrison’s rebuilt side, who face Keighley on Boxing Day (noon) before a trip to the Leigh Sports Village on Sunday, January 22 (3.0).
Courier Sport understands there is still the possibility of a fourth fixture being added on the first weekend in February - the week before the club’s first competitive match - although director Ian Croad confirmed he was happy with the current arrangements.
“We’ve got three matches, which are all attractive fixtures in their own right for different reasons,” said Croad.
“From a football perspective, the intensity will go up as we get closer to the start of the season.”
Huddersfield are potentially the biggest draw card, with Fax expecting Brown to make a departure from the largely reserve grade sides that used to contest the pre-season Infirmary Cup.
“It’s the week before the Super League kicks off, so it’s going to be their last chance to work on things,” said Croad.
“They’ve already made it clear that it’s not a game they want to lose, which with the quality of our squad is going to mean them bringing a strong team.”
The match at Leigh will mean a quick return to the LSV for Fax centre Mick Nanyn, who switched clubs this autumn, while at least one familiar face - the Ireland hooker Bob Beswick - is likely to be on the other side.
Beswick, who had spent the last three years at the Shay but turned down a deal to work under Harrison, was one of a raft of Leigh recruits confirmed at the weekend as the Centurions - who have still to name a coach to replace Ian Millward - rebuild after their recent cash crisis.
“We’ve had a good rapport with Leigh in recent years and we wanted to do whatever we could to help them,” said Croad. “Their supporters turned out to help us a few years ago when we were in a similar financial situation.”