Dewsbury Rams boss Neil Kelly says their performance in tonight’s clash against Sheffield will be an indicator for the rest of the season.
The Rams host the Eagles at the Tetley’s Stadium this evening (Fri, 7.45pm) in their first competitive game of 2018.
Kelly has issued a rallying cry to fans to come and support the side in their first Championship fixture.
“I don’t know what the weather is going to be like but I would urge everybody who wants us to do well this year to come to the game,” said Kelly.
“Come and support the team, get behind them because the supporters can actually make a difference in the performance and the result.
“We are a little bit excited and a little bit nervous, like you are every year when you come round to the first game.
“This is where you find out if you have done everything right in pre-season and we are excited to find out about the side.
“Even though it is only the first game it will still be a good indication for the rest of the season.”
Kelly is unsure of what to expect from Sheffield this evening, following a late recruitment drive from the South Yorkshire side.
The Rams boss has seen the Eagles in action during pre-season but is expecting a largely changed line-up.
Sheffield confirmed this week that prolific winger Garry Lo would be returning on a one-month loan deal, along with Cory Aston.
He said: “Because most of their recruitment has been done so late, we haven’t had much chance to see them.
“I saw them against St Helens and Bradford but that is going to be no real indication of the side that will play tonight.
“I think it is a good time to focus on ourselves, I know that if we play well and do the things we do well I am sure we will be okay in this game.
“If we start to flirt with not giving 100 per cent, not just in this game but in every game, you can sometimes come unstuck.
“I am looking for improvements in all areas, I do think we have been satisfactory in pre-season.
“No side are at their best at the start of the season but we want to start off at a good level and then hone our skills and our teamwork in the weeks to come.
“However, given we have three games at home in the first month it is important we start at our best.”
The Rams finished their pre-season preparations with a behind-closed-doors warm-up game against Keighley Cougars last Friday.
Kelly said it was a positive exercise for his team but he is still looking at strengthening his squad.
“It went really well, it was a really good workout. Once the players realised it was a serious workout we got a lot out of it,” added Kelly.
“We won the game as well but we haven’t put too much emphasis on the result.
“Most people would say that front row is a big recruitment area for us and we are still looking around for front-row forwards.
“I have only got Gareth Moore and Paul Sykes to play at half-back, there are others who can play in that position but they do so reluctantly.
“So I do feel we need some half-back cover at six and seven.”