Rovers coach wary of Whitehaven’s threat

Rovers coach Jon Sharp: "I think that Whitehaven on their day are capable of stringing together an absolutely fantastic performance."
Rovers coach Jon Sharp: "I think that Whitehaven on their day are capable of stringing together an absolutely fantastic performance."
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Featherstone coach Jon Sharp will not underestimate lowly Whitehaven in Saturday’s Kingstone Press Championship game at the Recreation Ground.

The Cumbrians are at the foot of the table after losing their first two matches but Sharp has unhappy memories of Featherstone’s final regular season fixture last year when Whitehaven won 29-0 at Big Fellas Stadium.

“Whitehaven have got off to a bit of a slow start so they will be determined to put things right this week,” said Sharp.

“I think that Whitehaven on their day are capable of stringing together an absolutely fantastic performance. I won’t forget the 29-0 last year when they were absolutely brilliant.

“We certainly won’t underestimate them. They have some really good players and I know what they are capable of.

“It’s always difficult up there but we travelled up there well last year when we played Workington. We were extremely good and gave probably gave the performance of the season apart from the Championship Shield final.

“Travelling to Cumbria is not something that is going to be an issue and we are looking forward to the game.

“It’s a six-day turnaround but if we have any aspirations of going any higher we should be able to deal with that.”

Jamie Cording will have a late fitness test after missing Featherstone’s 14-12 win against Batley last Sunday with a rib injury.

Steve Snitch will be sidelined for a further month after having a knee clean-out.

Sharp will check on the availability of Leeds Rhinos dual registered players.

Leeds’ Ash Handley, Jordan Baldwinson and Mitch Achurch have played in Rovers’ first two games but the Rhinos have injury problems and winger Handley could be recalled if Tom Briscoe fails to recover from ankle trouble.

Rovers are looking to sign an experienced hooker after news that Matty Wildie, a close-season signing from Dewsbury, will miss the rest of the season with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.

“It’s an enormous blow both for the player and for us.” said Sharp.

“It’s upset us all because we’d made plans and built the team around him playing at nine so it’s back to the drawing board.

“We need to have a look around. We don’t want to continue with John Davies or other people filling in at nine.

“ If we’ve got serious aspirations of the top-four we need to sign someone who can contribute. We’ve got a couple of ideas and we’ll see where we get to.

“I think attacking wise we’ll improve once we get someone in the nine position and settled in.”