Featherstone coach: All the pressure is on Bradford

Rovers coach Jon Sharp: "Everyone thought Bradford would be home and hosed by now so there's some pressure on them and none on us."
Rovers coach Jon Sharp: "Everyone thought Bradford would be home and hosed by now so there's some pressure on them and none on us."

Jon Sharp believes Featherstone have hit form at the ideal time ahead of Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship top-four decider against Bradford Bulls at Big Fellas Stadium.

And the Rovers coach insists all the pressure will be on Bradford in the final fixture of the regular season in a winner-takes-all clash to qualify for the Middle Eights.

After successive away victories at Batley and Halifax, Featherstone are level on points with fourth-placed Bradford, just one point behind Batley Bulldogs, who visit Swinton on Sunday.

“We seem to be getting better and we’ve got the timing right as well. Peaking at the right time is crucial,” said Sharp.

“It’s a Grand Final for us on Sunday, there’s no getting away from it. I can’t hide the fact it’s a massive game.

“We are coming up against a full-time team who have probably spent more than double what we have so we’ll start as underdogs.

“Bradford will come into the game as favourites and rightly so but we are confident as well. All the pressure is on them.

“Everyone thought Bradford would be home and hosed by now so there’s some pressure on them and none on us. We can go out and enjoy it.”

Rovers should go into Sunday’s clash with plenty of confidence after winning their last three games.

They have lost only two home matches this year - narrowly against Halifax and Leigh - and they also boast the Championship’s best defensive record.

“Two key goals at my first pre-season meeting were that we needed to be good at home and needed to be one of the best teams in defence in the competition,” added Sharp.

“We currently have the best defence and we’ve won eight out of 10 home games so I’m delighted with that.

“Clearly, the impact of beating Batley and Halifax has given the club a financial injection that it needed because the match against Bradford is now a far bigger game than it would have been had we lost.

“The club is immediately achieving some rewards financially from Sunday’s match but on the bigger picture there is a lot of money to play for in terms of funding and the opportunity to play against Super League teams.

“However, we are not looking any further forward than this week. We are not day dreaming. We’ve got to play at our best and stick to the process to beat Bradford.

“We pride ourselves on our preparation and meticulous detail in our coaching and it will be no different this week. We’ll give the players the information we think they need and hopefully come up with a plan that can beat a really good team.”

Sharp is set to field a similar line-up to the one that won at Halifax.

Jamie Cording (knee injury) is still sidelined and Colton Roche is suspended. Jamie Foster, who has been ill, has lost his place in the side.