Paul Cooke to face familiar foe

Doncaster coach Paul Cooke and his close friend Lee Radford will both make their senior coaching debuts this Sunday.

And they will make their debuts against each other.

The former Hull FC team-mates and East Hull coaches will be on opposite sides when Doncaster take on the Black and Whites in a pre-season friendly.

It will be the first official games in charge for both men as they embark on new coaching careers, and Cooke is relishing the chance to take on his friend.

“It’s ironic that will both be starting our professional coaching careers against each other,” Cooke said.

“When I joined Hull Sharks in 1997 we played together in the Academy and the ‘A’ team and have been good friends ever since.

“We then coached together at East Hull; Radders was head coach and I was assistant.

“I don’t think either of us thought that our first games as coach in a professional capacity would be against each other.”

The two coaches were set to meet on Sunday discuss which Hull FC youngsters will be available to Doncaster on dual-registration this season.

That should enable Cooke to have a good idea of who he might be able to call on ahead of watching those players for Hull against his side on Sunday.

Cooke himself could sit out the match as his looks at a number of new combinations.

“I’m unsure if I’ll play yet – I might have a look from the sidelines,” he explained.

“We still have a bit to sort out with staff roles and responsibilities off the field when I’m playing, so I’ll be having a look at those guys as much as the players.”

Cooke’s only injury absentee is backrower Grant Edwards, giving him a 22-man squad, including himself.