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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

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Captain Harrison hands Barrow Raiders fitness boost

SKIPPER Liam Harrison has handed Barrow Raiders a fitness boost ahead of Sunday’s Championship trip to Featherstone.

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RECOVERING Liam Harrison HARRY ATKINSON REF: 50044354B007

The Craven Park captain limped from the field on Sunday after picking up knocks to his neck and shin in the 14-4 defeat to Doncaster.

But Harrison came through a modified training session on Tuesday night – when players did not use the pitch damaged by mudbath conditions just two days earlier – and coach Darren Holt will have him available for selection at the weekend.

“Liam is a bit sore, but he’s okay,” said Holt.

“It’s nothing serious and he will be okay for the weekend.

“It would have been a problem if he had been missing.

“We’ve come through pretty much unscathed. Liam came off, Dan Toal had a bit of a knock, but he’s fine, so we’re okay.”

Barrow are already missing the suspended second-rower Kurt Haggerty for Sunday’s game, after he picked up a one-match ban for striking in the opening-day loss at Hunslet.

The absence of Harrison as well in the pack might have caused problems, but his availability means Holt can promote former St Helens youngster Danny Jones from the bench.

“Danny Jones will slot back into the second row,” said the Raiders coach. “When Danny has been coming off the bench he’s been really solid for us, so I’ve got no problems with that.

“Kurt has been one of the standout players so far this season and he will be a miss for us, but I also think he will only continue to get better once we iron a few things out within the team and we can start playing as a unit.”

Jones’s promotion from the bench would leave a space in the 17-man squad to be filled by someone not involved on Sunday.

Holt has ruled out bringing in one of recuperating pack trio Jamie Butler, Ruairi McGoff or Jack Spencer back, however, not wanting to risk them on a tough assignment at Post Office Road.

“A game at Featherstone, one like this, there is no point rushing anybody back,” he said.

“Stick them on the bench and they might have to come on after two minutes due to injury and they might set themselves back. Nobody will be risked, but we will be going down there with a strong side to have a go at them.”

He added: “All four (of the injured players, including winger Tom Brannon) are back in full training now. Jamie Butler’s hand, he just needs to get that confidence back through contact work and things like that.

“Ruairi’s knee is coming along, but it’s fitness work with Ruairi, and Jack Spencer is raring to go, but he needs to get the all-clear with his foot.

“We’re probably identifying the Workington game as the comeback game for a glut of players.”

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