Reds clash will sharpen us up, says Karl

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HALIFAX coach Karl Harrison has confirmed his side’s fourth pre-season fixture, against his former club Salford in nine days time.

Fax will face the Super League Reds at their new Barton stadium on Sunday, January 15 (3.0).

And Harrison, who won the Super League Coach of the Year title in 2006 after steering Salford into the play offs, said he had prompted the game himself in the wake of his side’s 44-6 victory over Keighley on Boxing Day.

“I was in two minds after Boxing Day,” said Harrison.

“On the one hand, I was pleased with a lot of things that we did.

“On the other, compared to where we need to be, we weren’t that great.

“There were some timing issues in attack, and there is still a lot that we need to work on.

“We have a lot of new personnel, but it’s more than that; we’ve changed pretty much everything about the way this club plays.

“It’s a new start, with a new group of people, and I think another game, a quality game against a good side, will benefit everyone.”

Harrison confirmed his thinking is heavily influenced by his side’s Northern Rail Cup group, with a potentially tricky opening day trip to Dewsbury and a home game against 2011 Championship winners Featherstone sitting alongside a Shay meeting with Rochdale and a long-haul to London Skolars.

“I think we have to win three of those games,” said Harrison.

“Featherstone obviously bring a challenge of their own, but Dewsbury will be very tough and we need to respect them.

“If we had an easier group, I’d be less likely to play another pre-season game.

“But we need to make sure we hit the ground running.

“I think another 80 minutes under our belts will help us do that.”

Huddersfield are facing a prop shortage ahead of their opening Super League game at Wigan next month.

Front rower Larne Patrick, who played in all but five of the Giants’ 27 League games in 2011, has suffered a broken wrist in training and coach Nathan Brown confirmed that new signing Tony Tonks will also miss the clash at the DW Stadium on Sunday, February 5.

Patrick has undergone surgery which will keep him sidelined until March. Tonks, signed from Featherstone as a replacement for Darrell Griffin who is now at Leeds, will sit out the opener after picking up a two-match ban for his part in the brawl during the Championship Grand Final in his last game for Rovers in September.

Huddersfield will also be without experienced overseas back-row duo David Fa’alogo and Luke O’Donnell, who can both play in the front row, for the start of the season because of back and knee injuries respectively.

“It’s not great,” said Brown. “Larne suffered a busted scaphoid in training and was left with no other choice but to undergo surgery.”