Rovers coach looks for weekly improvement

Rovers coach Jon Sharp: "The results seemed to have gone our way last weekend even though we didn't play."
Rovers coach Jon Sharp: "The results seemed to have gone our way last weekend even though we didn't play."

Coach Jon Sharp is looking to build on encouraging performances in Featherstone’s first two Championship games when they host newly-promoted Oldham at Big Fellas Stadium on Sunday.

Rovers beat Batley Bulldogs last time out after narrowly losing at Bradford Bulls in the opening game.

“It’s work in progress. We are a brand new team with 11 new players,” said Sharp.

“We don’t expect to be at our best and we don’t need to be at our best in rounds one or two, but we expect to build on what we do every week and improve every week and get some momentum going into the back end of the season when it really counts.”

The Rovers boss expects a tough test against Oldham who collected their first points last weekend by beating Dewsbury 38-16 after losing 48-18 at Leigh the previous week.

“Oldham were extremely good against Dewsbury and played really well,” added Sharp.

“They were brave with the ball and very attacking minded. They threw a lot at Dewsbury and they struggled to handle it. They also played well against Leigh the previous week.

“They seem to be in really good form and there’s always some surprises as there was with last weekend’s games.

“I’ve never known a round like it really last weekend with some strange results. It was very much like that last year right down to the last of the week of the regular season.

“It was very tight last season and I would imagine it will be even tighter this year with Sheffield going full time, Halifax having extra resources and London recruiting well.

“The results seemed to have gone our way last weekend even though we didn’t play. We have to take advantage of that this weekend and in the following Sunday’s home game against Dewsbury. We need to stay fit and healthy and be in good form.”

Rovers were without a fixture after Saturday’s match at Whitehaven was postponed because the pitch was unfit.

“We wanted to keep some momentum going and we were ready to play,” said Sharp.

“We were disappointed we had no outcome at the end of a hard week’s training.”

Sharp hopes the game can be re-arranged for a Challenge Cup weekend if Rovers and Whitehaven do not progress to the late stages.

“There are couple of gaps in the calendar on Challenge Cup weekends so there might be something there but if not we’ll go there mid-week,” he said.

Rovers are still searching for a replacement for injured hooker Matty Wildie who is out for the rest of the season.

Sharp added: “Losing our number nine is a big blow for us so it’s to be expected we may well not be attacking how we would like but we are working hard to try to find a replacement.

“We are still working hard behind the scenes, beavering away to see if we can bring someone in.”

Latest £500 Rovers lottery winners: W Warriors (I2055), D Sumpner (I5792), D Atkinson ( H4092), C Jones (B5858), A Maller (O1028). £5 consolation prizes: M Bateson (W5858), G Elliott (V4092), S Farrell (V2055), A Appleyard (V2055).