NATHAN BROWN is ready to send his strongest available side into pre-season action against Hull KR at the Galpharm Stadium on Sunday (2.30).
And with the Robins planning to do the same, Huddersfield hero Eorl Crabtree’s testimonial clash promises to be a fixture to capture the imagination.
Luke Robinson (shoulder), Shaun Lunt (hernia) and Danny Kirmond (finger) will sit the game out as they remain in rehabilitation.
But everyone else in the senior squad will have a run-out, including new massive signing Luke O’Donnell, who is set to form a destructive second-row partnership with fellow Test forward David Fa’alogo.
“We’re picking a more experienced team this week and anyone that’s fit and healthy from the senior first-team squad will be getting a run-out,” confirmed Brown.
“The only guys who’ll miss out are Shaun, Danny and Luke, but of those we’re hoping Danny and Shaun will be okay to get some game time in the remaining trial games, whereas we know Robbo will be a longer process.
“Sunday is going to be really good for us to see where the guys are at. Obviously, the performance isn’t going to be perfect and we may find ourselves a little rusty, but it will give us an indication of how the team’s coming together, both in attack and defence.
“Training has been going really well and we feel as though we are getting some really good improvements out of individuals, not only in the football sense but also physically from the strength and conditioning point of view.
“If we can adapt that and take it into the teamwork side of things then that will definitely help the club going forward.
“We’re well aware that if you don’t improve and you stand still as a side, then other clubs will be going past us.”
And Brown is also hoping the fans turn out in force to honour one of the town’s favourite sons.
“In a town that is probably growing in stature in the sport, Eorl has been the one constant for the club over the years and I know he is very proud to represent Huddersfield,” said Brown.
“His appearance and physique stands out and he is by far the highest-profile player from the area we have.
“The fact he is held in such high esteem, both inside and outside the club, is due to the fact he is such a decent bloke and will ensure he gets a really great turn-out from the public this weekend.”
The full squad for Sunday’s trial clash was being finalised after training later today.
Several of the youngsters who were in action during last weekend’s 30-16 defeat at full-strength Batley Bulldogs have put themselves firmly in the reckoning for a spot this Sunday to reward their efforts at Mount Pleasant.
But those who have been successful have been made to wait until now to keep them on their toes.
Hull KR chief Justin Morgan, meanwhile, has confirmed his new half-back duo will be handed an immediate chance to impress the fans this weekend.
New signing Blake Green will be paired alongside Michael Dobson as Rovers form part of what Morgan says will be a ‘strong’ 22-man squad to face the Giants.
Craig Hall, who has made the switch across the river from Hull FC, will make his Robins debut in a side which will also include the likes of Shaun Briscoe and Clint Newton.
The prospect of the Green-Dobson partnership is one which has excited Robins fans ahead of the new season.
And teammate Newton believes 23-year-old Green will be a similar success to Dobson at Craven Park, with their partnership already showing promising signs in training.
“I’d not seen a great deal of Blake when I was in the NRL and I’ve gone on what coaches have told me, but he reminds me of Michael about 18 months ago,” said Newton.
“He wasn’t in a position to nail down a regular place in the NRL and never really got a run of games, which is what you need at half-back.
“We’ve not done a great deal of team training because of the weather, but when we have they have looked good together.”
With further trial games against Halifax and Salford ahead of the season opener against Hull on February 12, Rovers are keen to get back to action.
Jason Netherton will not be available on Sunday as he continues to recover from wrist surgery, but he is expected to feature in later friendlies.