The Belle Vue derby clash is going to be a special day for Wakefield Wildcats forward Andy Raleigh.
The Huddersfield-born second rower announced his retirement from the game this week and is looking forward to what will be his final clash against his hometown club.
“I’m fit and ready to go at the weekend and the game against Huddersfield is always one to look forward to,” said the 33-year-old.
“I was with Eorl (Crabtree) during the week and we were saying it will be a good contest with both teams aiming to book their places in the play-offs.”
For the Giants the issue looks more to be whether they can break into the top four, while for the Wildcats their coach James Webster has set a traget of four wins from their final five outings to try and snatch a top-eight finish.
“It would be an ideal end to the year for me if we could make the play-offs,” said Raleigh, who joined Wakefield from the Giants back in October 2011 having made 132 appearance for Hudderfsield.
“yet again we have one of those seasons where it has pretty much followed the pattern of our starting slowly, but getting stronger over the season.
“We certainly feel that we have made some ground over recent games, but we know that with five games to go we have to win what is in front of us and get as good a finish as we possibly can.”
A recent win over arch-rivals Leeds lifted the Wakefield camp and last weekend’s 40-26 win at Warrington Wolves further heightened belief that the Wildcats can end strongly.
And Raleigh, whose professional career also included spells with Sheffield Eagles and Hull KR, will also be looking to make an impact before bowing out – though he has no regrets over his decision to retire at the end of the campaign.
“It has been a tough decision, but in some ways the decision has been made for me,” said Raleigh.
“There was the possibility of another year, but injury has had a say.
“I damaged my wrist a little while back and had to have a reconstruction and to be honest it has never been 100 per cent since.”
Raleigh, who played for the Giants at Under 18 and Under 21 level, retires armed with an honours degree in geography from Newcastle University, but initially he is hoping that he can forge a new role within the game.
“Already I have a couple of opportunities in the offing and, ideally, I would like to stay within the game,” he added.
“I have been in touch with a couple of clubs and the RFL, but I will finish playing first and than start trying to sort something out.”
Sunday’s match also sees the end of Raleigh’s testimonial and there will be a special half-time draw at Belle Vue – which is some recompense for the fact that Raleigh’s testimonial match against the Giants was called off.
“My planned testimonial game back in January was cancelled due to waterlogged pitch, which was obviously disappointing,” said Raleigh.
“That game was against Huddersfield and as a result the half-time draw at this week’s Giants game is for my testimonial.”
The prize list for the Andy Raleigh’s testionial tickets is: two directors box tickets for Giants v Wildcats at The John Smith’s Stadium in the regular 2015 season, two hospitality tickets for Wildcats v Giants at the Legends Suite including a four-course meal and seating in the main stand in the regular 2015 season, a signed Huddersfield Giants shirt 2014 season, a signed Andy Raleigh Testimonial shirt, two Championship tickets for Huddersfield Town v Middlesbrough on Saturday, September 15.
Tickets are £1 and will be on sale at all turnstiles, bars and the private boxes.