ILKLEY'S head of rugby Rhys Morgan is looking forward to running the rule over some of the club's new signings on Saturday in their first pre-season friendly at Blackburn.

He said: "This will be different to the past two seasons, when we tended to play the side in the pre-season friendlies that will feature in the first league game.

"We are missing Luke Pearson, Max McKay and JH Johnson, but it gives me the chance to have a look at the new lads, some of whom will feature in the first league match at home to Kendal on Saturday, September 1."

Morgan only returned from a fortnight's holiday in Turkey on Thursday, but he still managed to get to the last 45 minutes of training.

He said: "With preparing the lads for sevens tournaments in the summer, it was the first break that I have had in three years, and you do need to recharge your batteries, but I left the squad in very capable hands.

"Jimmy Lowes, unless his circumstances change at Leeds Rhinos, is happy to commit to us as much as he can, and one thing that I noticed in the short time that I was down there on Thursday was the intensity.

"Things had been prepared by (forwards' coach) Nathan Smith before he went to Loughborough University, so it has been a case of both myself and Jimmy getting up to speed, but the players have helped to guide us.

"We have to work out things like whether we exit on the first phase or the second phase, but when that ball gets dropped it is noticeable that the lads are then straight on to strength and conditioning coach Gary Dempsey, who has been working them hard.

"We should be as fit as we have been for a while and we will be taking two separate forward packs to Blackburn.

"It is the backs where we are a bit thin, and we would like to recruit some, and particularly someone who can play wing or full back."

After the match on Saturday, Ilkley and Blackburn will be enjoying a social event.

Morgan explained: "Their coach Dino Radice is a mate of mine and they are putting on a spread.

"On the way back we are having something called festival goers. I think I might turn up as an ageing Mick Jagger."