Wakefield Wildcats: Pros outweigh the cons for boss Kear

Fear of injuries is a major concern for both coaches ahead of Sunday's Festive Charity Trophy game at Headingley Carnegie – but Wakefield Trinity Wildcats boss John Kear reckons it is worth the gamble.

Both Wildcats and hosts Leeds Rhinos have suffered serious injury problems in previous Christmas games, but Kear insisted the benefits of playing on Boxing Day far outweigh the risks.

* Click here to watch the latest edition of the YEP's rugby league programme The Sin Bin.

The fixture is a money-spinner for both clubs – who share the gate receipts – and Kear said rugby-wise, it is an important first step in Wildcats' preparations for the new campaign, which begins against Castleford Tigers in Cardiff on February 12.

Kear has named a strong squad including seven new signings and he stressed: "Getting through injury-free is a priority in any trial game, but you have got to accept that very rarely happens.

"If you play trials, you run that risk. If you compare the risks to the gains – I think the gains outweigh the risks."

Wildcats have been in pre-season training since mid-October and their coach doesn't see Sunday's match as a distraction.

"We've been training a long time and I sense the players are ready to put a shirt on and grab a ball in a competitive situation," he stated.

"I am excited about it and I think they are excited about playing. We want to see if our perceived improvement is an actual one.

"As far as I am concerned, it (Sunday's game) is part of our pre-season preparation.

"We are playing top-quality opposition in a great stadium and there'll be a big crowd. I am looking forward to it. I just hope it goes ahead."

The bad weather has caused Wildcats problems, but Kear said they have been using various indoor training facilities – including Sheffield United's – and he is confident they haven't been set back.

Recruit Kevin Penny will make his Wakefield debut on one wing, with fellow recruit Chris Dean in the centres.

Hooker Tommy Lee is named in the front-row alongside prop Paul Johnson, Stuart Howarth will start in the back-row and Josh Veivers and Motu Tony are on the bench.

First team regulars Matt Blaymire, Darryl Millard, Aaron Murphy, Ben Jeffries, Michael Korkidas, inset, Kevin Henderson and Dale Ferguson will also start, with youngster Matthew Wildie at stand-off and Kieran

Hyde and James Davey among the substitutes.