RISING star Ryan Johnston has been handed his first senior start for Barrow Raiders.
The outstanding youngster joins Brad Marwood in the key pivotal half back roles as Raiders coach Paul Crarey uses the opportunity to experiment against visiting Coventry Bears at Craven Park tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).
Others likely starters for the friendly are forwards Danny Morrow, Matty Holmes, Brad Brennan, James Duerden and Andrew Dawson, while Chris Fleming and Dan Toal could forge a centre partnership.
Crarey is keen to see all his players get run-outs during pre-season, and he said: ”It is about giving some of the lads who haven’t had a lot of game time a start, and seeing what they can do.
“But we have got to have the same intensity as what we did against Oldham and Whitehaven, we can’t drop just because we have changed a little bit.
“We want a reaction, we want those lads to stake a claim. We will be starting with Danny Morrow, Matty Holmes and Brad Brennan, people like that, and we will sit some senior players on the bench if we need them.
“We have got to look after our squad and give them minutes so that is what we are going to do.”
Crarey wants to see his players make a statement in what will be Barrow’s fourth pre-season match following games against a Barrow and District Select, Oldham and Whitehaven.
“We shouldn’t drop our intensity or standards because we are playing Coventry, they are well-drilled and well organised side,” he said. “They have recruited pretty well this year and are preparing really well. They are one of the best southern teams.
“Anyone, if you are not prepared, will give you a shock at any level. If you don’t turn up and your mind set is not right you will get beat.”
Johnston’s influence in the Furness Raiders academy side has been noted by Crarey and his coaching staff, while Marwood’s zip around the pack couple with his passing skills could unravel the Bears’ defence.
However, should Barrow get into a tricky situation, Crarey has Lewis Charnock and Jamie Dallimore on the bench to come on.
Nathan Mossop, if he comes through a fitness test, is also set to feature at hooker, sharing the role with Dan Abram.
Crarey said: “Ryan Johnston and Brad Marwood will start at the weekend, and hopefully Mossy and Dan Abram will look after the hooking position, if Mossy has come through his fitness.
“Lewis Charnock and Dalli will be sat on the sidelines and will play at some point in the game.
“We are keen to go and looking forward to the Coventry game it gives us a little bit of a different perspective on what we are doing and where we are at with certain players.”
See you on match day.