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Saturday, 26 July 2014

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Three is the magic number for Barrow RL boss Holt

THREE matches in January will be the perfect preparation for February’s Championship season for Barrow Raiders.

Boss Darren Holt is happy with a fixture list which sees his side face Keighley Cougars, a BARLA Great Britain amateur side and Whitehaven over consecutive weekends from Sunday, January 6.

Plans were originally in place for a game to be played this month, but they have since fallen by the wayside, while the offer of a fourth match in January was turned down in order to avoid early-season burnout.

That leaves the three friendlies – which are followed by a blank weekend and then the Championship season-opener at Hunslet Hawks on Sunday, February 3 – for Holt to test out his reinforced squad, a situation he is still happy with.

“We were initially trying to get a match in the December period, but I think it would be too soon now to stick them out on a rugby pitch before then,” he said of a squad which only started training in the last week in November after weather delays.

“Three games going through January – weather-dependant of course – should gear us up nicely, especially with the teams we are going up against, there is a bit of a mixture there.

“We had the option of another game in January, but I just think four games on the trot would be too much for the boys.”

Holt intends to use the pre-season games in a different manner to last season this time round.

Then, the matches saw numerous players turn out each week, whereas Holt intends to restrict the squad size for each of the three friendlies this season in order to better accustom his new players to the routines of the side.

He said: “We really do need to utilise the friendly matches. This year, rather than pick the whole squad and have them all coming down for matches, we will just pick a squad of about 18 or 19 players and just mix and match for the different games.

“We need to try and get them used to each other and get the new boys used to the set-up on game days.”

Holt is also glad to have a week between the final pre-season match and the start of the campaign proper.

That will allow anyone who has picked up slight knocks in the warm-up games to recuperate in time for the trip to South Leeds Stadium.

“It’s rugby and people will pick up knocks, they can get tired and there may be people carrying injuries as well,” Holt added.

“Realistically, this gives them two weeks from the last friendly game to get over any knocks they have got so they are all ready and raring to go for the first league game.”

l Barrow Raiders are seeking nominations for club directors, to be elected at the forthcoming annual general meeting for season ticket holders on Monday, January 14.

Nominees must have been seasonticket holders for the 2012 season.

Forms of nomination are available from the club office at 78 Scott Street, Barrow, and must be completed and returned by noon on Christmas Eve.

Current directors Keith Nutter and Phil Heighton, who were elected along with Keith Holt by season ticket holders last season, will stand down as required by the articles of association and seek re-election at the meeting, which will be held at the Lisdoonie Hotel, Barrow, at 7.30pm.

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