EXCITED Huddersfield Giants officials are hoping tonight's eagerly-awaited debut of Australian Test ace Michael De Vere will help boost the Galpharm crowd.
The 28-year-old Brisbane Broncos legend, pictured, has missed Huddersfield's first seven Super League games after undergoing a knee reconstruction in July last year.
But tonight he will step onto the field for the first time as the Giants seek a fourth success from eight top-flight starts against in-form Salford City Reds.
The fact both clubs go into the contest on the back of outstanding Good Friday wins - the Giants won 42-20 at Wakefield and the City Reds destroyed Warrington 42-10 - adds to the appeal of tonight's contest.
And Giants staff are keeping fingers crossed that all their hopes of a bumper gate will become a reality.
"There's already a massive feelgood factor around the Galpharm," said Giants general manager Richard Thewlis.
"We are celebrating record season-ticket numbers, a 50% increase on the first three home gates and are planning to smash a new barrier ahead of tonight's game against Salford when we will see the home debut of Michael De Vere.
"The club began the 2005 campaign with a 57% increase in their season ticket base from the previous year and we have now launched our mini ticket to coincide with the debut of Michael de Vere.
"The numbers pre-season were extremely encouraging and as part of the season ticket package, holders had vouchers for each of the first three games to enable them to bring a friend for a fiver.
"The uptake on these was good and has provided significant data regarding our `floating' support, which we are now looking to capitalise on by offering a mini ticket for the next four Galpharm games where fans will only havwe to pay for three of the matches.
"The expansion of our crowd remains a crucial issue and we are all extremely encouraged by the initial signs.
"I would anticipate that we will soon be able to celebrate our 2000th season ticket holder, something the club has never previously achieved.
"That in itself is a sign of the progress we are making, although we know we still have a lot of hard work ahead of us.
"Hopefully, Michael's arrival tonight will help further boost interest in the Giants."
Referee:Karl Kirkpatrick (Warrington).