Featherstone boss expects big test from unpredictable Doncaster

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Featherstone Rovers head coach Daryl Powell is expecting a difficult game for his side when they go to the Keepmoat Stadium tonight to play Doncaster in the Kingstone Press Championship.

Doncaster have dropped down the table after a promising start to the season since promotion, but recently showed they are a difficult side to beat as they only narrowly lost to title challengers Batley and Sheffield.

Powell said: “We recognise it will be a difficult game for us at Doncaster. They’ve been playing well in the games that I’ve seen and challenging teams, particularly at home.

“They only just got beat against Batley and Sheffield so showed they are dangerous opponents.

“They will present a challenge and it is very difficult to know what their team’s going to be because they pick a different one every week.

“It’s pretty much impossible to know who they are going to throw at us so we’ll focus on ourselves.”

Powell will check on the fitness of backs Andy Kain and Ian Hardman and forward Anthony England before naming his team, but knows he will be without former Dons player Kyle Briggs as well as long term injury victim Sam Smeaton.

He said: “Kyle Briggs is likely to be missing for about a month. He’s had a scan which has shown some damage, but it’s not too serious.

“We’ll check on Andy Kain and see how he is in training. He had a tweak and a little bit of a groin injury. Apart from that we’re reasonably healthy.”

Powell is looking to strengthen his squad at centre with Smeaton out for an extended period and confirmed that he was interested in signing Vince Mellars from Super League club Wakefield Wildcats, but a deal has not yet been done.

The Rovers boss was pleased with the way his side played in a 76-6 win over Thatto Heath in the Challenge Cup last Sunday.

He added: “There were lots of positives from the game. We are still building as a team and I thought we were pretty good with the ball at times.

“They threw a fair bit at us with their kicking game more than anything. Their kick-offs wee a massive challenge and they got a lot of attacking ball on the back of the kick-offs.

“Overall to keep them to six points and their only try being a bit of a breakaway from a stray kick by Liam Finn and for us to score so many points you’ve got to be happy with that.

“Getting through to the next round was important for us.

“It was a good chance to have a look at some players and there were some good young players out there. Dave Scott did well out on the wing, Jack Ormondroyd came in and did okay and Jack Lee had his first game in the first team and handled things all right as well.

“We don’t want to get too carried away because we were playing an amateur team, but they slotted in pretty well with what we were doing.”