COACH Warren Jowitt could hand debuts to a trio of players as Dewsbury Rams play their final Northern Rail Cup group game at home to Rochdale Hornets on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).
With Dewsbury having virtually no chance of progressing to the knockout stages Jowitt could use the game to give Jamaine Akaidere, Greg Scott and Matthew Tebb a chance to shine before the opening Co-operative Championship match against York the following week.
Jowitt said: “I want to have a look at everyone before the start of the league season. I have always said ‘if you perform you are playing and if not you aren’t’ so this could give the chance for players to earn a place.”
Last week’s narrow 30-28 victory over Oldham means the Rams are not technically out of the competition but would need to hammer Rochdale, hope winless Oldham triumph at Keighley without conceding a bonus point and also rely on results involving South Wales and London Skolars to go their way.
Jowitt reiterated his stance that the Championship must be Dewsbury’s priority, especialy after rebuilding the squad.
The coach added: “I can’t be shortsighted and have to put the team first and our focus has to be on the league. When we have become successful in the league, we can have a look at winning the Northern Rail.
“We have wanted to do well in all the games and wanted to win them but our focus has to be on the York game.”
Dewsbury had to hold off a late fightback at Oldham last week to register their first win but it came at a price, with new signing John Davies sustaining shoulder ligament damage, which will rule him out for up to three weeks. He joins fellow key players Rob Spicer, James Craven, Pat Walker and Cain Southernwood on the injured list.
Jowitt was annoyed at the way Dewsbury allowed Oldham to fightback after seeing his side build a handsome lead well into the second half.
He added: “We were winning 30-4 after 57 minute and completing our sets and we should have gone on to win comfortably but a couple of players took their foot off the gas. They thought the game was won and when your mind is not on the game, that is when you make stupid mistakes.
“It doesn’t matter who you are playing, you can’t do that and we will aim to put that right on Sunday, when we will be going at it full throttle from start to finish.
“We have been using these Northern Rail Cup games as building blocks. I have been using various players in different positions.”
Rochdale have lost their opening two games and are rooted to the bottom of the group, so Dewsbury will see it as a chance to gain a confidence-boosting win before the league campaign begins at home to York next Sunday (March 11).
The Rams have received positive feedback regarding their development plans, which could see up to 200 houses, a care home and eight acres of sporting facilities built on land near Tetley’s Stadium.
Public consultations have been held at the club, Dewsbury Town Hall and Hanging Heaton CC, while a further meeting for Rams supporters will take place after Sunday’s game at home to Rochdale. Rams chairman Mark Sawyer will present the proposals to fans in the Royal Suite no later than 5.30pm immediately after the post match presentations.
Mr Sawyer said: “Clubs in Super League and at our level have been asked to improve their grounds and there is always pressure to improve the stadium, which is why the development is so important to us – it will give us a platform.”