Rovers aim to bounce back

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Featherstone Rovers hope to have second-rower Tim Spears and utility player Jonny Hepworth available for Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship game at Barrow Raiders.

Hepworth has missed the last three games with a broken hand and Spears (pictured) has been sidelined with a medial ligament injury.

Rovers are still without prop Anthony England (shoulder) but centre Vince Mellars, signed on a month’s loan from Wakefield Wildcats, is set to make his second appearance for them.

“Hopefully, we’ll have Tim Spears back. We’ll have a check on him this week. Jonny Hepworth should be in contention as well,” said Rovers interim head coach Ryan Sherdian, who is expecting a tough test against Barrow.

The Cumbrians were trounced 58-12 at Featherstone in February but they have pushed Sheffield and Dewsbury close in their last two matches.

“It’s always tough at Barrow. We’ve never had an easy game up there,” added Sheridan.

“Obviously, the journey plays a part as well and we need to manage that well.

“Barrow have only narrowly lost their last two games. Sheffield beat them by only two points and Dewsbury beat them 22-12.

“We know what Barrow are about. They are a big, physical set and they are going to come at us so we’ll have to be on top form.”

Rovers aim to bounce back from a shock 36-24 home defeat against Doncaster last time out.

ay last weekend so the Doncaster defeat has sat with us a little but we are now raring to go and we will have some good preparation this week leading into the game. We’ll also see if we can get some bodies back.

“We are looking to put things right with a far better performance than we gave against Doncaster.

“It’s vital we start games well and we will be looking at that.

“We always have a big focus on defence but against Doncaster there were a few individual decisions that were pretty poor that cost us.

“We will be looking to correct those this week and make sure we are all working together and we’ve all got the same system in mind in terms of defence.”

Rovers have a crucial spell of matches against Barrow, Workington, Batley, Halifax and Sheffield in the next five weeks.

The home match against Workington has been re-arranged for Sunday, June 30 (3pm kick-off). The game was scheduled to be played on March 24 but was postponed because of bad weather.

Both clubs had a free date on June 30 because they are no longer involved in the Northern Rail Cup.

The game against Halifax at The Shay has been brought forward from Sunday, July 14, to Thursday, July 11, because it is being televised live on Premier Sports (7.30pm kick-off).

Sheridan said: “We’ve got a very busy spell coming up.

“Obviously, we’ve got an eye on on next month but our focus at the moment is Barrow this weekend and then the Workington game.

“If we can build some momentum coming off the back of the next two matches it will be vital for us.

“We’ve now got the Halifax game only four days after we play Batley but it is what it is. We’ve just got to get on with it and roll up our sleeves. It is a bit of an acid test for us but the players are looking forward to it.

“We know what we are about and we know what we need to be doing.”

Featherstone’s under 19 and 20 teams are in action in a double header at Big Fellas Stadium on Saturday.

The under 19s take on Hull Kingston Rovers (12.30) and it will be followed by an under 20 clash between Rovers and South Wales Scorpions (2.30pm).

Admission is £3 adults and £1 concessions/juniors.