Hock’s return set to boost Featherstone chances

Featherstone Rovers' Gareth Hock. Picture: Dec Hayes
Featherstone Rovers' Gareth Hock. Picture: Dec Hayes

Head coach John Duffy is pleased to have Gareth Hock back for Saturday’s game against Halifax (kick-off 5.15pm).

The powerful forward had a big game against Hull FC in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup, but picked up a one match suspension for punching and missed the subsequent Betfred Championship game against Leigh.

He is available for the Summer Bash game against Halifax, however, and Duffy is delighted to be able to call on his close season signing.

He said: “Gareth was a loss (for the Leigh game) and he’s going to be for any team.

“He’s performing well and he’s got better every week for us. We missed him. It will be good to get him back next week.

“He was gutted about not being available to play against Leigh, but we get him back for the Bash, which is another massive fixture for us.”

Rovers will be without injured forward Connor Farrell, however, with Duffy admitting he will be a big miss for the team.

He explained: “Connor’s been consistent all year and he’s been fantastic for us.

“We will miss him, but it gives someone else an opportunity to come in and stake a claim for a spot.”

Duffy revealed that Keal Carlile and Brad Knowles were doubtful starters before the Leigh match, but hopes they will be okay to play against Halifax.

He added: “Keal Carlile’s been struggling and had a late fitness test just before the game. Brad as well, but I think he’s all right.

“I think those two will be all right, but we’ve just got to make sure we do the right thing this week with them.

“We’re at the time of the year now where you’ve got to patch people up to play.

“Every club will doing the same with injections and physio and just getting through the week to play.

“Everyone’s in the same boat, there’s no complaints from us, you’ve just got to deal with it.

“We had a few disruptions, but that’s nothing to do with how we’ve performed, we should be able to deal with that.

“We expect better and we have got to look at the video, but we’ve got to give credit to Leigh, they came and did a job on us.

“Leigh are on the up, they’re a fantastic team and Kieron Purtill’s turned them round.”