COACH John Duffy believes Featherstone’s first pre-season game at neighbours Castleford Tigers on Boxing Day will be an ideal test.
New recruits Martyn Ridyard, Shaun Robinson, Tom Holmes and Scott Wheeldon are set to feature against Super League Leaders’ Shield winners Castleford along with other new signings Connor Farrell and Sam Brooks who ended last season playing for Rovers.
Featherstone also host Leeds Rhinos and Halifax in confirmed warm-up fixtures in January ahead of the start of the Kingstone Press Championship campaign the following month.
“We are really looking forward to taking on Cas. We’ll field as strong a side as we can,” Duffy told The Express.
“We want a tough game. If we want to do anything special next season we want to test ourselves from the word go.
“All the new signings will play at Cas. We are keen to give them a run out. Obviously, it will be a big game for Tom Holmes going back to his old club so he is looking forward it.
“We’ve some tough pre-season games because we’ve got Grand Final winners Leeds and also Halifax who will be knocking on the door again next season.”
Former Swinton Lions coach Duffy, who took charge at Featherstone in July following Jon Sharp’s departure, is pleased with the work done in the opening two weeks of his first pre-season at LD Nutrition Stadium.
“It’s just a case of getting the players into the routine of doing what I want. I can put my own spin on things now,” he added.
“We are doing a lot of work in training at the moment on how we want to play next season.
“I’ve been putting everything across to the lads and they’ve all bought in.
“The pre-season work is the foundation for your season.
“You’ve got to make sure your planning is right and the players get everything they need when they come in with them being part-time players. Myself and my staff are doing our utmost to make sure we get it right. The lads are buying in at the minute and they’ve been really good. Although the training is tough, they are all enjoying it.”