DEWSBURY Rams have signed two wingers of varying experience as they strengthen their squad for what is promising to be a keen campaign in league and cups.
The first recruit is Andy Smith, who has Super League experience with Bradford, Salford and Harlequins, but has recently been coaching at Eastmoor.
Rams’ coach Warren Jowitt said: “He was at Bradford Reserves last season trying to work his way back and has been getting himself fit this time. He isn’t ready to play yet because he isn’t sufficiently fit to our standard and will probably need two or three weeks hard work.
“He will be in the Reserves tonight and we’ll see what he can do. He’s a big, powerful unit, something we’ve probably been lacking out wide and I’m quite excited about his signing.”
The Reserves meet Oldham at Tetley’s Stadium tonight (7.30pm), seeking a third successive win, all of them at home.
Another player in the side will be young winger Jermaine Akaidere, who has already looked very promising in the reserves, and has been given a first team contract.
Jowitt remarked: “I have been very impressed with him. He has been playing as an amateur but his attitude is brilliant and he has looked sharp in matches, he’ll soon be putting pressure on for the first team, so I’ve given him a contract.
“We want to encourage local youngsters and there are several of them in the Reserves. Because it is played at under-23 level, you can include some first teamers and they mix well with the young lads.
“Just as last season I told our chairman Mark Sawyer that I wanted a Reserve team to bring these kids on and he was happy to agree.
“We have a number of very promising youngsters, many of them are local, and I want to encourage them. We have a 17-year-old hooker in Jack Binks and he’ll soon play first team football. Tom Wall is a big number, he’s fit and can go for a long time during matches.
“Tom Oben is playing well at centre and Danny Glassell is doing well at full-back and Scott Glassell looks good at scrum-half.”
Mr Sawyer said: “Warren said at the start, ‘Let’s fund the reserves, we need the kids coming through.’
“We can’t afford to be spending all the time on bringing players in from outside and have to nurture our own talent. The supporters also enjoy it when they see local lads coming through.
“We don’t get too many watching the Reserves but the die-hards are very keen and enjoy it and can see what we are tring to do for the club.”
Another value of the Reserves should be shown tonight when Pat Walker is set to play part of the game after breaking a hand in the opening match at Toulouse on February 5.
There had been talk of Walker being in the squad at Hunlset last night but Jowitt said: “It would have been too much of a risk. He needs half a game with the Reserves to see how he goes.” Centre Scott Turner has an ankle problem and was given a rest.
There is satisfaction at the Rams at the home quarter-final draw in the Northern Rail Cup against Batley Bulldogs, which will be at Tetley’s Stadium on Sunday, April 10 (3pm).
Jowitt said: “It’s a change to be getting a bit of luck with the draws and we want to make it pay. Our next three games will now be Batley, Sheffield, Batley, all of them at home, so the players and supporters will get to know each other well enough.”
Admission for the Northern Rail tie will be standing: adults £13, concessions £7 and under-16s £2. Seating prices are adults £14, concessions £9 and Under-16s £9.
Junior season tickets will be accepted for the match but it is stressed that adult and concession season tickets can’t be used.