Featherstone Rovers coach Jon Sharp says there is ‘every chance’ new signing Kyle Briggs will play against big-spenders Salford City Reds at Big Fellas Stadium on Sunday.
The 28-year-old half-back or loose-forward is in his third spell at Featherstone after rejoining them from Sheffield Eagles on a two-year contract.
Danny Craven, signed on a season-long loan from Widnes Vikings, prop Darrell Griffin (hand injury) and Briggs will have late fitness tests before Rovers face Super League opponents for the third time in 22 days following warm-up games against Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Wildcats.
Sharp is pleased with the influence Briggs has already had in practice sessions.
“There’s every chance Briggs could play on Sunday. We just need to see how he gets through this week’s training,” he said.
“We will have late checks on Griffin, Briggs and Craven. If there’s any doubt, they won’t play.
“Briggs has got through his first week with us and you can see the improvement in practice. He’s certainly had an influence on how we do things and go about things. I’ve seen Thackeray improve and the back line players improve as well so I’m really pleased with that. His leadership qualities and his kicking game are something I particularly needed to bring to the club.
“I think I’ve done that with the guys that have come in. The influence of Misi Taulapapa can’t be underestimated.
“The way he trains and conducts himself and the way he encourages his teammates in training has been magnificent.
“You could see the influence he had in the game against Wakefield last Sunday and that will go for Briggs as well. I think he will bring similar attributes to the team.
“Briggs has played for Featherstone before but it’s a very different animal to the last time he was here.
“We are very much a new team with lots of new signings. We are at an embryonic stage and he has the opportunity to influence the direction we head and the standard we are trying to set.”
Sharp was happy with his side’s performance in Sunday’s 22-18 defeat against Wakefield but he is looking for further improvement this weekend.
“We went up a level last Sunday from our first game at Castleford and I want us to go up another level again with our overall performance,” he added.
“I thought we took a big step forward defensively against Wakefield but I think we can still improve on that.
“I think we can kick the ball better and there are some areas in our attack that can improve but that will come with time and with getting out on the field and getting used to playing with each other.
“It’s getting close to the start of the season so I’m sure Salford won’t waste a game and an opportunity to see where they are at. They’ve a strong squad which I’m sure will be another big challenge for us.”