HUNSLET’S ENTIRE squad will be given a chance to prove their worth in the Kingstone Press League One Shield competition, coach Gary Thornton says.
Hunslet finished 10th in the table and will compete in the end of season tournament for League One’s bottom eight clubs.
Hunslet had been aiming for the Super-8s, but Thornton said they have to make the most of the situation they are in and it will mark the start of preparations for 2018.
The Parksiders kick off at home to Coventry Bears tomorrow (3pm) and Thornton – who joined Hunslet two months ago – said: “We’ve got 24 players who are fit and we will give everybody an opportunity. There’ll be a few changes this week from the last game and a few more next week. I’ve said to the players they are all working for contracts for next year and I want everybody to have an opportunity to earn a contract.”
Marcus Webb is set to return tomorrow after representing Wales at the recent Student World Cup in Australia.
Dean Roberts, Luke Teasdale and James Duckworth are poised to make their Hunslet debut and Sean Hesketh will also feature.
Lewis Reed misses out due to a one-game suspension and Joel Gibson is serving a three-match ban.
Jack Lee underwent surgery on a torn biceps this week and is unlikely to play again this year. Tommy Brierley (knee) has also been ruled out for the rest of the season.
The top two at the end of the seven extra games will meet in the Shield final. Hunslet kick off in second place and Thornton said: “We will keep the team as strong as possible for every game.
“The 24 fit players we’ve got are all good enough to play at this level and I expect them to to go out and do their job.”
Coventry will be making their third visit of the season to South Leeds Stadium after losing there in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup and League One.
“We know plenty about them,” Thornton said. “They have strengthened recently and they will want to give the eights a really good crack.
“We will have to have our heads on, it is more about our mental approach. We know we have got the fitness and skill to win the game, but our attitude has to be right.”