Rovers coach: We cannot afford to slip up

Rovers coach Jon Sharp: "We will be showing the same focus and intensity against Dewsbury that we did against Halifax. It's a really big game for us this weekend."
Rovers coach Jon Sharp: "We will be showing the same focus and intensity against Dewsbury that we did against Halifax. It's a really big game for us this weekend."

COACH JON Sharp aims to make sure that Featherstone’s Challenge Cup run will not distract them when they resume their Championship top-four bid in Saturday’s match against Dewsbury Rams at LD Nutrition Stadium (6pm kick-off).

Rovers have four league fixtures before they visit quarterfinal opponents Leeds Rhinos on June 16.

“We’ve addressed it and we spoke about it at our team meeting on Monday,” said Sharp.

“There’s four weeks before we play the quarterfinal and everyone is under the microscope and playing for a spot in that.

“I expect people to be fired up and motivated and know there’s a big prize for them at the end of it if they perform well. Likewise, if they don’t, other people will get opportunities so there’s no resting on laurels and there’s no assuming the work is done because it is exactly the opposite.

“It’s still work in progress for us and we can’t afford to slip up because things are so tight in the Championship table.”

Featherstone, who have won their last five matches, are second but just two points ahead of Toulouse, London Broncos and Halifax.

They will aim to complete a league double over Dewsbury after winning 38-6 at Tetley’s Stadium last month but Sharp will not take the Rams lightly.

Dewsbury, with just one win in 12 league games, have improved since Neil Kelly returned as coach for a second spell.

Said Sharp: “It’s back to reality this Saturday and back to what is equally, if not more, important to us and that is hopefully a good performance and two points against a resurgent Dewsbury team under Neil Kelly.

“Dewsbury seem to be playing for one another and we are certainly expecting a tough game.

“It was tough when we played at Dewsbury - it was very physical - and I expect it it be similar on Saturday but we are comfortable and happy with what we are doing.

“We will be showing the same focus and intensity against Dewsbury that we did against Halifax. It’s a really big game for us this weekend.”

After Saturday’s match, Rovers face London Broncos at the Summer Bash and then host Championship leaders Hull KR before visiting Bradford Bulls.

“The big games are coming thick and fast. We are constantly playing high quality teams and we enjoy the challenge of that. It’s what we are here for,” added Sharp.

“We like playing the big games and playing opponents who challenge and test us. I think London and Hull KR coming up are just about as hard as it gets.”