Batley Bulldogs and Dewsbury Rams will resume hostilities on Boxing Day when they meet for their annual festive clash.
While most friendlies have little really riding on the result, when these two sides meet at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium (kick-off 12pm) it will be for the Roy Powell Trophy, dedicated to the former Great Britain forward who hailed from Dewsbury, played for Batley and died aged 33 in 1998.
As a former team-mate of Powell, this match therefore has meaning for Bulldogs boss Craig Lingard who has instructed his side to go for the win.
“It’s an important game for us because it’s for the Roy Powell Trophy,” he said. “It means a lot to me because he was here in my first year at Batley so I played with him.
“Although it’s a friendly, I said to the guys I’m not bothered about the other three friendlies if we win, lose or draw, but certainly the Boxing Day game is one we want to win.”
Nyle Flynn, Dane Manning and Aiden Ineson all miss out after operations in the off-season, while James Brown is a doubt with a niggle.
James Meadows is the only one of Batley’s six new signings who won’t be able to feature having picked up a minor shoulder knock last week.
The rest of the new additions will feature as interchanges, with Lingard saying: “We’re going to run with a starting 13 of players who played for us last year, and have the new players off the bench.”
Batley and Dewsbury have agreed to run with a squad of 20 or 21 players on Boxing Day, with Rams head coach Lee Greenwood hoping to have a full-strength squad to pick from minus two suspended players.
Both Keenen Tomlinson and Dale Ferguson picked up bans while on international duty at the end of last season and will have to sit out this game as a result.
Greenwood admits neither side will be at their best but will look for promising signs from a squad that welcomed eleven new faces in the off-season.
“It’s the first game and we’re both still a work in progress,” he said.
“It’s a little bit out of synch, but it provides a financial boost for both clubs (the receipts are shared) and gives supporters the chance to watch a game.”