Preview – Blackpool v Rochdale

Panthers are set to give debuts to two dual-registered players after reaching an agreement with Engage Super League club Wigan Warriors.

Prop Neil Holland and second row Chris Tuson will be thrown straight into Martin Crompton’s squad.

Crompton said: “It’s absolutely remarkable for a little club like Blackpool to link up with the most famous club in the game. I’ve got to say a big ‘thank you’ to those who’ve made it happen because it looks like it will be an ongoing relationship.”

Damian Munro (hamstring) and Martin Ainscough (hamstring) will both miss out this week but winger Tom Woodcock comes back following a slight calf strain.

But Crompton has been dealt more bad news after prop Dave Best had a scan on his shoulder injury on Monday. Crompton said: “It’s not good. He’s got to have an operation and he’s looking likely to be out for three months.”

On Rochdale, Crompton added: “John Stankevitch has got some good players there and they’re very well drilled. It’ll be a good test for us.”

New Hornets signing Liam McGovern will not play on Friday after his registration was not completed in time, although Rochdale coach John Stankevitch is hopeful he will be ready for next week.

Stankevitch said: “We’ve signed him from Waterloo rugby union. He’s a really prolific kicker and a different type of halfback with lots of experience.”

Chris Hough is facing four to six weeks out with a torn thigh muscle but Bolu Fagborun (ankle) is fit to play on Friday. Paul Raftery (suspected broken cheekbone) is doubtful following a knock he suffered during Rochdale’s Challenge Cup tie against Lezignan.

Stankevitch said: “I think Blackpool are under massive pressure this week.

“It’s their first league fixture of the year and their chairman has openly said that they want to win the league this season. All the pressure is on them and we’ll just go and enjoy the game.”

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