Featherstone coach predicts another close clash against Hull KR

John Duffy: "It's more of an attitude and mentality thing that has been letting us down."
John Duffy: "It's more of an attitude and mentality thing that has been letting us down."

COACH John Duffy believes Featherstone Rovers can take confidence from two previous performances this season against fellow Championship outfit Hull Kingston Rovers when the sides meet in Sunday’s Super 8s Qualifier (3pm).

Depleted Featherstone were pipped 30-22 by two late tries at KCOM Stadium on Good Friday and the sides drew 20-20 in the return league fixture at LD Nutrition Stadium in June.

Duffy, who took charge at the end of July, said: “I wasn’t involved in those games but watching the footage Featherstone were very unlucky not to win both and you’ve got to take confidence from that.

“I think it’s going to be another close one this Sunday and hopefully we can come out of it with the points.”

The Robins, relegated from Super League last season, are on course for automatic promotion after winning their first three Qualifiers against Halifax, Leigh Centurions and London Broncos.

Featherstone also still have plenty to play for.

They are just one point behind fifth-placed Catalans Dragons in their bid to play in the Million Pound Game.

Duffy is looking for an improvement in attitude and mentality following a disappointing display in the 58-10 defeat at Widnes Vikings last time out.

“After the poor performance at Widnes, it has been good to get everything boxed off there and we are looking forward to this next one now,” he added.

“Obviously, we’ve been looking at Hull KR and what they are going to throw at us and looking to come up with a good plan for this weekend.

“Hull KR always bring plenty of fans and our supporters have been superb so hopefully we can get a big crowd.

“Hull KR signed well in the off-season and then brought players in for the Qualifiers as well. They are very dangerous and got a good result when they won at Leigh.

“They are looking to go straight back up but we’ve just got to make it as tough as possible for them this weekend and also look after ourselves.

“I’ll be looking for an improvement in attitude from the Widnes game and a bit more consistency with our play, definitely in defence.

“It’s more of an attitude and mentality thing that has been letting us down.”

Veteran prop Darrell Griffin is serving a two-match ban and misses Sunday’s game but Featherstone are set to welcome back forwards Frankie Mariano and Connor Farrell from injury following last weekend’s break.

“It has been good to get some of the players who had niggles rested up,” said Duffy.

“Darrell Griffin is out but obviously it gives opportunities to others.

“There are lads chomping at the bit here.

“Brad Tagg got some minutes at Widnes and Coops (Luke Cooper) has been superb the duration I’ve been here and probably deserves a chance.

“Frankie Mariano and Connor Farrell who both missed the Widnes game should be fine.

“Jason Walton was back running on Tuesday night. Whether it’s too soon or not for him this weekend we’ll have to see by the end of the week.”

Duffy will also be checking on the availability of Leeds Rhinos dual-registered players.The Rhinos host Hull FC this evening (Thursday).

Featherstone centre Chris Ulugia will have surgery on a damaged shoulder and prop Andy Bostock is awaiting the results of a scan on his knee.

Duffy said: “I think the minimum Chris Ulugia will be out is four weeks and the longest it will be is five months.

“It all depends on what they find has gone wrong when they open him up.”

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