Batley Bulldogs, Dewsbury Rams, Featherstone Rovers and Hunslet Hawks look to field strong line ups

Championship clubs Batley Bulldogs, Dewsbury Rams, Featherstone Rovers and Hunslet Hawks are all planning to field a strong team on Boxing Day – weather permitting.

Bulldogs' First Choice Birstall Superstore Challenge clash with visitors Dewsbury Rams looks certain to fall victim to a frozen pitch.

Batley coach Karl Harrison admitted: "If global warming kicks in we've got a chance, but I don't think it'll be on.

"We have got to give it as long as possible, because both clubs are desperate to have a game – they haven't had a pay day since August, which is a long time with no income."

Despite the weather, Harrison's squad have been preparing as though the match will be played and the coach said: "We're taking it seriously.

"It is a big part of our preparation and we'll have a really strong team out, if it does happen."

New signings Wayne Reittie, Daley Williams, Alex Bretherton, Adam Robinson, Paul Mennell and Dane Manning are all due to play for Bulldogs, with only their dual-registered players and injured duo Sean Hesketh (groin surgery) and Chris Buttery (knee reconstruction) not included.

Rams boss Warren Jowitt has also named a strong squad, including recruits Kyle Bibb, Jake Shaw, Elliot Cosgrove, Michael Wainwright, Nicky Saxton, Rob Roberts and Johnny Horton.

Rovers are confident their Boxing Day game at home to newly-promoted Hunslet will go ahead – though January 2 has been set as a reserve date.

"We are preparing to play," said Rovers coach Daryl Powell. "It is important from a financial point of view."

Powell plans to field a powerful team, with recruits Bryn Powell, Dom Dee, Greg Worthington, Jamie Milburn and Ryan Gaunt all set to make their bow.

Hawks are also likely to put out a strong line-up.

Only Tommy Haughey and George Rayner are unavailable, due to work commitments.

Meanwhile, Louis Stead has joined Huddersfield Giants on a season-long loan, but Hawks are talking to a Super League club about a possible dual-registration option.

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