DEWSBURY Rams have signed highly-rated centre Liam Welham from Featherstone Rovers as they face five games to save themselves from relegation.
Last week’s 36-22 defeat at Widnes, coupled with Toulouse’s shock win at York, saw the Rams slip to the foot of the Co-operative Championship and five points adrift of safety.
Former Hull KR academy player Welham, brother of Super League player Kris, will have time to get to know his new team-mates before Dewsbury face a must-win game at home to Barrow Raiders on July 31.
Realistically, Dewsbury must win their next three games to stand any chance of producing a great escape and pulling clear of the relegation zone but coach Warren Jowitt remains confident that the side are capable of achieving just that.
Influential back row man Rob Spicer could be back to face Barrow after recovering from a broken leg sustained in the defeat to Sheffield on June 3, while the Rams have received a further boost after scans revealed that Pat Walker’s injury is not as bad as first feared.
It was thought Walker would be ruled out for the season after he damaged an ankle in training but scans have revealed that it was only a bad sprain and he could be in line to make a shock return against Barrow.
Jowitt said: “Against Barrow, I could have the headache of having everybody available and the players I will have to pick from are all good players.”
Jowitt was full of praise for full-back James Craven, who has returned after a spell on the sidelines and produced two outstanding performances.
Richard Fletcher gave another great display at Widnes, while popular hooker Richard Chapman marked his second debut for the Rams by scoring two tries.
Jowitt added: “I was delighted for James as he has spent time in and out of the side but he has bitten the bullet and come back with two great performances.
“It could have been difficult for Richard (Fletcher) as we were team-mates and are good pals but he respects me as his coach and he is doing a great job.
“Chappy considers this as his home from home and he puts a smile on the lads’ faces in the dressing room. He is a real character and I’m sure he will be firing on all cylinders once he regains full fitness.”
A win against Barrow would keep alive Dewsbury’s chances of avoiding the drop before they head to France to take on Toulouse on Saturday August 6 and then host fellow strugglers Hunslet Hawks on Sunday August 14.
Dewsbury’s trip to Championship leaders Featherstone Rovers, will take place on Sunday August 21, despite rumours this week that the game had been brought forward to the Saturday.
The Rams end their campaign at home to second-placed Leigh on Sunday September 4.
Rams chairman Mark Sawyer said: “Barrow is certainly a must-win game now but we are also going to have to beat Toulouse and Hunslet to have a chance of staying up.”
The Rams Reserves’ game against Widnes, postponed from July 7, will now be played on Thursday (July 21) at Tetley’s Stadium (7.30pm).
Bottom Six P W D L F A Pt
Barrow 15 6 0 9 377 379 25
Halifax 14 6 0 8 367 389 23
York 15 4 1 10 312 542 16
Hunslet 14 3 1 10 262 454 13
Toulouse 14 3 0 11 244 461 12
Dewsbury 15 2 1 12 289 456 11