Rovers have chance to grab top spot

Rovers coach Ryan Sheridan: "It's a massive game." Picture: Bob Nunn.
Rovers coach Ryan Sheridan: "It's a massive game." Picture: Bob Nunn.

On-loan centre Vince Mellars is set to return for Featherstone’s Kingstone Press Championship clash against Halifax at The Shay this evening.

The 29-year-old New Zealander has missed Featherstone’s last two matches with a hamstring injury.

“Vince should be okay and he’s definitely in contention,” said Rovers coach Ryan Sheridan, who is delighted that the experienced centre’s loan from Wakefield Wildcats has been extended.

“It’s great to have a player of his calibre with Super League experience. He’s a fair presence in the centres for us.

“Obviously, he’s had a bit of a stop-start career with us so far but hopefully we can now get him on the field and keep him on the field.”

Sheridan is relishing tonight’s game, which is being televised live on Premier Sports.

“These are the big matches that players want to play in we are looking forward to it,” he added.

“We are raring to go and we’ve no injuries. We are having a light week at training with playing on Sunday and backing it up on Thursday.

“They are usually cracking games against Halifax. It’s a good, wide open pitch and there will be two entertaining teams with a lot of talented players on show.”

Victory tonight would lift Rovers to the top of the table.

They are just one point behind leaders Sheffield Eagles and one point ahead of third-placed Halifax, who have suffered a blow with the loss of key playmaker Scott Murrell.

He sustained a serious hand injury in Halifax’s 50-18 win against Whitehaven last weekend.

Rovers beat Halifax 40-18 at Big Fellas Stadium in April but Sheridan knows that victory will not count for anything tonight.

“We were red-hot that day but it will be a different game at their place. It’s going to be a real war of attrition,” he said.

“Halifax have recently been racking up some scores against teams and have been playing well.

“It’s a big blow for them to lose Murrell but they have other talented half-backs so it will be just the same and it will be a big test for us.

“It’s a massive game. There are only a few points separating the teams at the top.

“We know the importance of this match. We are just going there looking to put in a performance and if we get that right we will be in with a shout but we know it will be extremely tough.”

Sheridan believes Featherstone’s hard-earned 18-12 win against Batley last Sunday was just the contest his side needed ahead of tonight’s game.

“It wasn’t a flashy game. We rolled our sleeves up and played tough.” he said.

“The conditions were very hot and it took its toll on both sets of players but we managed to come out with a victory and a deserved one at that.

“It was a tough physical test and it has put us in good stead for Thursday.”

Featherstone have signed Castleford’s 20-year-old second rower Charlie Martin on a month’s loan.

Martin has made two Super League appearances for theTigers this season as a substitute.

Sheridan said: “Charlie Martin is in contention to play against Halifax.

“He is a welcome addition to the squad and will provide competition for places.

“I’ve told our players that they are playing for places and performances will keep them in their shirt and that’s what we want.

“We’ve now got some competition in our backline and in the forwards.”