FEATHERSTONE Rovers coach Daryl Powell sees tomorrow night’s Co-operative Championship clash at Leigh Centurions as a key game for his side.
Rovers, aiming to finish top for the third year running, are just one point behind leaders Halifax and two points ahead of third-placed Leigh who have a match in hand on Powell’s men.
“If we are going to finish at the top of the pile this is a really huge game for us,” said Powell (pictured).
“Leigh are playing well and we are playing well so it will be a tough game there’s no doubt about that and obviously we are away from home so it’s a big challenge for us.
“Leigh have a match in hand on us and they could go above us with that so we want to take that away from them.”
Tomorrow’s game at Leigh Sports Village is the first of two meetings in 13 days between the sides.
They also lock horns in the Northern Rail Cup semi-final at Bigfellas Stadium on Thursday, July 5.
Powell said: “It’s an important game on Friday for quite a few reasons. Obviously, the Northern Rail Cup game is going to be a tough challenge for us well but that one is at home.
“I think generally we’ve gone pretty well against Leigh.
“They have got us a couple of times when we’ve been off but when it has come round to the big games I think we’ve been pretty good against them.
“Our away form has stood the test of time over the last few years and hopefully it will continue that way.
“Leigh were a good team all last year and then towards the back end we got at them and got in front of them.”
In-form Rovers have won their last four league games and also hammered Keighley 60-12 in last Thursday’s Northern Rail Cup quarterfinal at Cougar Park.
Powell was delighted with his side’s form at Keighley.
“It sets us up for the big challenges we’ve got coming up. We are going to need to be excellent,” he said.
“Mentally and physically I think we are in a great position at the moment so we couldn’t feel any better going into the big games we’ve got in front of us.
“I just think we’ve got a bit of an edge about us at a team at the moment and we just want to retain that.”
Powell will be checking on the fitness of Jonny Hepworth (back injury) before he finalises his line-up for tomorrow’s game.
Andy Ellis, Jon Grayshon and Nathan Chappell, who did not play at Keighley, are all available.
Said Powell: “Obviously, I’ve got a few decisions to make on what I think is going to be the best team to win this game.”
Tickets for Featherstone’s Northern Rail Cup semi-final against Leigh, which will be shown live on Premier Sports TV on Thursday, July 5, went on sale yesterday.
Rovers have announced a special offer for fans who pre-purchase a ticket.
For every adult ticket purchased for the semi-final, fans can buy an adult ticket for Featherstone’s Co-operative Championship game against Hunslet Hawks on Sunday, July 15, for only £7.50 instead of the normal price of £15.
If Rovers sell 1,000 adult tickets by 4pm on Thursday, July 2, they will also refund £2.50 on the Hunslet Hawks ticket.
Ticket prices for the NRC semi-final are £15 adults, £9 concessions and £3 juniors. Ticket sale times are Monday to Friday 9am-4pm (main office), Wednesday 10am to noon (club shop) and Saturday 10am to noon (club shop)
Featherstone take on Hull KR in Scholarship and Academy games on Saturday.
The under 15s kick off at 11.30am, the under 16s at 12.30pm and the under 18s at 2.30pm. Admission is £3 adults and £1 concessions. There is free admission for juniors.
Latest £500 Rovers lottery winners are L Clements (A3565), D Butler (V0467), T McIntyre (N6484), T Harling (F4383), A Moore (B1684).