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Rochdale Hornets captain Duane Straugheir has said his side are going to Widnes Vikings to win in Sunday's opening pre-season match.

Straugheir, who signed from fellow League 1 side Hunslet in October, is preparing to lead Hornets out for the first time this weekend against Widnes at the DCBL Stadium. 

Head coach Gary Thornton has acquired a largely new squad during the off-season, and despite a tough opening warm-up match against a Championship side, Straugheir says Hornets are going there with confidence.   

The back-row forward said: “You say friendly, but you want to go out there and win.

“I’m looking forward to it, I think we’ll do well. It’s going to be good, and for Gary [Thornton] to have a look at people.

“We have quite a big squad in pre-season with lads who can play in a variety of different positions, so it’ll be good for us to get together and see where needs to be worked on."

Hornets have been working hard throughout pre-season, in some tough conditions, in the build up to their League One opener against Doncaster at the Crown Oil Arena in March.

Sunday's fixture against Widnes will be a great opportunity for Hornets to showcase the different combinations and patterns the team have worked on in the winter months, and Straugheir is relishing the chance to make his Hornets debut against Championship opposition. 

He said: “We are over the moon and buzzing to do this on Sunday.

"I’ve seen their squad and they’ve got a few names out there you know, and players who’ve played at Super League level with some talented young players as well.

“If we can hold our own against them, that stands us in great stead going forward.”

With the fixture against Vikings being a pre-season encounter, Straugheir says Hornets may hold back on some plays, although getting stick in won't be an issue. 

“Obviously, we don’t want to show our hand too early on," he said. 

“So, there will be some stuff we hold back on a little bit but, we will go out there and get stuck in.”

Straugheir, who previously worked with Thornton at Hunslet, brings leadership qualities to the Hornets side from his experience captaining the Yorkshire side last season. 

“I was honoured to be asked to be captain," said the second rower.  

"I’ll be looking to go out there and do the badge proud, and hopefully push the team onto having a big season." 

Tickets for Sunday's match can be bought here, or also on game-day at the Widnes match-day shop located at the stadium from 1pm.

Away fans have been advised to purchase tickets in the South Stand Block H. 

Season passes for 2023 are now on sale here!

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Are we having only two warm-up games (away) up to the 5 March season home opener with Doncaster?

Perhaps tonight’s draw for the Challenge Cup and our entry in the second round 25/26 Feb. will clarify?

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Given the number of home league matches at 9 it is important that we have  a good cup run with home games. The draw for rounds one and two are made tonight, 6pm on the BBC IPlayer. NB we only enter in round two.

Good luck on Sunday at Widnes lads.

:girlwerewolf:  :girldevil: 




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