Briers pencilled in for Warrington comeback

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Lee Briers has set himself the target of being fit to make his long-delayed return for Warrington at their first game at their new stadium.

Briers has not played since breaking his wrist last summer but sees a specialist next Tuesday hoping to be given the go-ahead to resume full-contact training and hone his match fitness for the match against Wakefield on 21 February.

"It's been eight months," he said. "I'm counting the days because it's been a bit of a nightmare. I'm 99 per cent sure that I'll be alright this time."

The Wolves' coach, Paul Cullen, has already pencilled Briers in for the inaugural game at the Halliwell-Jones Stadium, which is expected to be watched by a capacity 14,200 crowd on the opening weekend of Super League.

"He wants to play on that first night and I'll need a very good reason not to play him," he said.

Cullen gives a debut in the friendly against Salford tomorrow to four new players - Danny Lima, Chris Leikvoll, John Wilshere and Mike Forshaw.

Also tomorrow, the Arriva Trains Cup, for lower division clubs, begins its group stage, with an array of new coaches in charge of their clubs.

In terms of celebrity, they are headed by Bobbie Goulding, now unpaid player-coach at Rochdale, although his long-standing ankle injury will prevent him from playing at Hunslet.

There are two new men and a new ground involved when Swinton play at Sedgeley Park for the first time, under the leadership of the league's youngest coach, Paul Kidd. Their opponents, Leigh, will be coached by their new recruit, Darren Abram.

Seamus McCallion, who has taken over as coach of the Gateshead Thunder, says he hopes to play as often as possible and may do so against Workington Town, who are coached for the first time by the New Zealander, Gerard Stokes.

The games will be the first competitive ones to be played under the new rules ratified by the International Federation this week, the most important of which affects the restart after a player is held up behind the try-line. Goal-kickers are also to be limited to a minute before the referee stops the clock.

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