Sharp wary of Oldham as Rovers aim to seal top-four place

Jon Sharp: "Oldham have a lot to play for and that's what makes them dangerous."
Jon Sharp: "Oldham have a lot to play for and that's what makes them dangerous."

FEATHERSTONE will clinch a Championship top-four place with two games of the regular season remaining if they win at Oldham on Sunday.

Third-placed Rovers have a three point lead over the teams immediately below them Toulouse Olympique and Halifax who meet in France on Saturday evening.

But coach Jon Sharp won’t be taking lowly Oldham lightly after the Roughyeds boosted their chances of avoiding relegation by beating 14-12 Toulouse at Whitebank Stadium last weekend.

Sharp has described Sunday’s match as “a cup final” for Featherstone.

“We are not looking any further forward than just playing well. If we don’t play well then we will get beaten,” he said.

“Oldham beat Toulouse and we weren’t able to so it’s a cup final for us.

“We had the semi-final against Batley last weekend and we got the two points and this is the final now. That’s very much going to be our attitude in this game that we have to win it.

“We haven’t done anything and we are not yet certain to be in the top-four. We have to beat Oldham and they beat Toulouse who are a really good team and who thumped us.”

Rovers are seeking to complete a hat-trick of wins over Oldham this season after beating them at LD Nutrition Stadium in the Championship and in the Challenge Cup but the Roughyeds gave a good account of themselves in both matches.

“Oldham don’t make it easy for you. They are a hard team to beat,” added Sharp.

“They have a high completion rate and they try to grind you down and they have a good kicking game.

“They have a lot to play for and that’s what makes them dangerous.

“It’s very tight at the bottom of the table and they are fighting for their lives.

“They have given themselves a lifeline with their victory against Toulouse and I’m sure they will be going into the game against us with the same attitude.

“It’s typical of the Championship. If you don’t turn up with a good attitude and are ready to work hard then you are going to be in trouble and I think that is the case with Sunday’s game.

“If we don’t turn up and roll our sleeves up then we can be in trouble.”

Winger Luke Briscoe could be in contention for a recall this weekend after being sidelined by ankle trouble.

“I will probably put Briscoe in the squad this week and just see how that pans out,” added Sharp who is happy that Rovers are relatively injury-free heading into the closing stages of the regular season.

“We’ve been rotating and we’ve been freshening blokes up. We are looking in better shape than we did at this stage last year,” he said

The Rovers coach was pleased with his side’s performance in the 42-14 home win against Batley last Sunday.

Featherstone were only 16-14 ahead early in the second-half but ran away with the game in the last half hour.

Sharp said: “It was a tough game for about 40 minutes but it’s not about 40 minutes. It’s about playing for the full 80 and I thought that’s what we did.

“Batley were always going to have a say in the game especially with the way it was officiated. It was always going to suit them.

“I thought our forward pack was the key. We dominated the middle area from start to finish.”

Tickets are on sale in the Rovers store for the next Championship game at LD Nutrition Stadium against Halifax on Sunday, July 16. Suppporters can save £2 if they pre-purchase tickets for the fixture before 2pm on Saturday, July 15.

Featherstone Rovers Ladies won 54-18 at Castleford Tigers in last Sunday’s Women’s League Premier Division match.

Latest £500 Rovers lottery winners are J Holloran (K3980), G Dobson (G4945), J Curran (P5012), J Cheetham (O0755). Friday - no winner (£1,250 rollover). £5 winners: N Heslop (V0121), G Adams (V0513).