This week is very different to everything we have known for a full year, because we are gearing up for a match!

Who would have thought that the world would have been a very different place this time 12 months ago?

Training has continued apace this week and all the lads are chomping at the bit to get back out on the field.

It will be interesting to see how many of them are still saying that on Sunday after their first hit out for such a long time!

We play Featherstone Rovers away on Saturday in what will be a difficult test as Rovers are one of the fancied teams for promotion to Super League this year.

Friendly games obviously don't carry the same weight as competitive matches and both teams will have plenty of players available for this game – not just the usual four subs.

It is about seeing how new signings settle in, how new structures and combinations work and about getting match fitness into players, especially after such a long lay-off.

We have 14 new signings this time around which is more than we have ever had I think and so the bedding in period is important albeit limited as clubs cannot have more than two pre-season friendlies this year to prevent the spread of Covid.

Protocols have ramped this week as we get ready for match action.

For example, travelling on the coach everybody has to have two seats to themselves, wear a face covering, no face-to-face seating is allowed, personal rubbish bags should be used and so on.

That basically means that the luxurious team coach we normally use is no longer an option so this week it is a 55-seater executive coach which will just about fit the 25 or so travelling from Oldham on to it.

Prior to leaving for the game everybody will have been temperature checked, they will also have completed their daily wellbeing form which they have to complete every day.

It lists the most common symptoms and the night before they will have had their second Covid test of the week.

All of the players and staff, including myself, have been issued with 'Red Zone accreditation' for the season which is a photo ID from the Rugby Football League, following several checks and an online education course.

The 'Red Zone' on matchdays is deemed to be dressing room and pitch areas.

I'm sure you can get a flavour of what is going on now to protect everybody involved in the game, their families and the wider public.

By the time we arrive at the ground on Saturday everybody will be desperate to get a game of rugby league and get back to what they love. Fingers crossed.