DEWSBURY Rams’ players are champing at the bit ahead of Sunday’s big Northern Rail Cup kick-off against much fancied Halifax (3pm).
The Rams have not played since they lost 42-16 in a friendly to a strong Bradford Bulls side on January 22.
However, the squad have been working hard in training and there is a buzz in the camp that they are ready for the opening game.
Coach Warren Jowitt said: “You can sense that the time has come and the lads are all ready to get out and play. There is light at the end of the tunnel and after all the training, we are just itching to start.”
Craig Cook and Dwayne Barker will captain the Rams and Ayden Faal is hoping to be fit following a wrist injury but Dewsbury have other injury doubts.
Ed Barber hobbled out of the Bradford game with ankle ligament damage and although he has improved, may not be fit to face Halifax.
Scrum-half Scott Spavin is also in a race against time to be fit following his run of bad luck.
He was knocked out in the Bulls friendly and having recovered, then turned an ankle in training.
Dual registration signing Cain Southernwood is certain to miss all four group games of the Northern Rail and could be ruled out for the start of the Co-operative Championship season following a wrist reconstruction operation.
Jowitt added: “Obviously someone else will get chance to have a run-out but these games will help us build towards the league season. Dewsbury are at a rebuilding stage as we look towards building and improving for the future.
“We are not in a position where we can say we will win the Northern Rail Cup and the Co-operative Championship but I see the league as more important.
“Halifax and Featherstone are again the leading sides, they have spent the most money, but Sunday gives us the chance to put in a performance against one of the front runners.”
Dewsbury, like many other clubs, will have a keen eye on the weather over the next 48 hours as they are determined to ensure Sunday’s opener goes ahead. However, understandably, Jowitt has concerns if the cold snap continues for any length of time.
He added: “The forecast for the next month is not good but what I would like to know is what we do if that does happen?
“Will they (the RFL) put the league season back or will they make everyone cram games in?
“It would be hard for players who work. Some of our players work as builders and have other trades. These are physically demanding jobs and it would be unfair to then ask them to play straight after coming from work.
“They would run the risk of injuries and would certainly be more fatigued.
“We are keen to get Sunday’s game on and I will be looking for a performance against Halifax and an improvement from the Bradford game.”
Halifax are among the better supported clubs outside Super League and Dewsbury will be eager that the game goes ahead. Fax are also a new-look side, having brought in Karl Harrison as coach from Batley, along with a number of players who were at the Bulldogs last term.
Dewsbury are confident of reaching the 500 season ticket mark before kick-off, which would net them a £15,000 bonus from sponsor Eric France.
The club has reported brisk sales in the last week, while some supporters have been in touch to say they will be buying season passes on Sunday. The office will be open up to kick-off for anyone wanting to buy their tickets.
Fozzard relishing new Dewsbury role: Page: 66.