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Monday, 25 May 2015

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Three ruled out of Barrow Raiders pre-season opener v Keighley

RAIDERS boss Darren Holt has a near full-strength squad to choose from as his side start their pre-season campaign at home to Keighley on Sunday.

DELAYED RETURN Injury means Nathan Mossop will miss Sunday’s pre-season match against Keighley

Holt has only three men ruled out through injury – Nathan Mossop, Ruairi McGoff and Jamie Butler – but intends to name just a 17 or 18-man squad to take on the Cougars.

The Craven Park boss does not want to repeat last season’s exercise of naming almost his entire squad and rotating them on and off the field, believing the new faces need more time to get used to the club’s playing style and systems.

“I’m going to break the squad down this year,” said Holt, whose side also face a BARLA Great Britain team and Whitehaven in pre-season. “I think that if you put the whole squad in and keep rotating players, then you don’t really get a true reflection of people’s performances and it’s not really fair on the lads.

“This year, we will be picking 17 or 18 players for each game and we will try and break up the games so that everybody gets an equal amount of time in whichever games they play in.”

Both Butler and McGoff have recently undergone surgery – on a problem wrist and knee respectively – while Mossop injured his knee in the first week of pre-season training. Hooker Mossop, who rejoined Barrow this season after a year with South Wales Scorpions, was set to resume training with the rest of the squad tonight, while both the prop forwards should be fit for the start of the season.

Holt said: “Jamie Butler is just coming back from a wrist operation.

“He’s back training and he is on the mend, but contact-wise, it is not something we want to rush.

“Nathan Mossop tweaked his medial ligaments in training three or four weeks ago and, again, no risks will be taken with Nathan until he is fully recovered.

“Ruairi has had a knee operation in the middle of December. It was only a trim out and he should be close to getting back training, so it is looking good for the start of the season proper.

“We’ll have a few lads we won’t risk through these pre-season friendlies.”

He added: “One of the things with it, is that these lads who have picked up injuries, or who are recovering from injuries, have missed a lot of work in pre-season.

“With the size of squad we have got now, they will have to realise that they are almost at the back of the queue now.

“Once they get fit again, they have got to go down, do the hard work and prove their fitness and catch the boys up. I have to do that to be fair to the rest of the squad.

“It’s an incentive for them – how much effort they put in will be reflected in where they are regarding the squad.”

l Barrow Island youth product Brad Singleton has joined Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on a two-month loan deal from Super League rivals Leeds Rhinos.

The 20-year-old prop impressed Wildcats boss Richard Agar with his two-try display in the Boxing Day friendly between the sides.

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