HALIFAX boss Karl Harrison has urged his side to “send a message” to their Northern Rail Cup rivals with a dominant performance in tomorrow’s season opener at Dewsbury.
Harrison has named a 19-man squad for the trip to Rams Stadium, a game Fax desperately need to win to bolster their chances of progress to the competition’s knockout stages.
“We want to send a message to the other teams, that Halifax are going to be a strong side,” said the former Great Britain front rower.
“We’ve got injuries, which have given us limited selection options, but this is a huge game.
“The first game of the year is always big, but it’s a tight group we’re in and we’re more than likely going to need to win three from four to progress.
“Dewsbury are a big, physical team; defensively they are up in your face and when they’ve got the football they make sure you need to tackle them.
“I’ve watched their pre-season game against Bradford and they played really well.
“Rob Spicer’s going well in the back row and Craig Cook’s a real clever dummy half.
“I’ve also been impressed with Ayden Faal, the centre.
“It’s a tough one, that’s for sure.”
Harrison will not formally name a team until just before kick off, although he did confirm that teenage stand off Anthony Bowman will start the game, with Anthony Thackeray on the bench.
“Bowman’s probably a bit more physical than Thackeray, and he’s done well when he’s had the chance,” said Harrison.
“For this game, we think it’s the right call to start him.
“Thacks has had a bit of a problem with his wrist and we think he can come off the bench and spark the game up for us.”
Harrison also spoke for the first time about new centre signing Mick Nanyn, who has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury that will require two separate operations.
“I feel really sorry for Mick, because he’s a smashing lad,” said Harrison.
“He’d trained really well, got himself in good condition and then this happens.
“The only thing we can do now is focus on getting his recovery right.”