Rovers look to pull off upset at Leigh

Jon Sharp: 'We played some really good stuff against Swinton."
Jon Sharp: 'We played some really good stuff against Swinton."

Coach Jon Sharp believes Featherstone need to produce a ‘special performance’ to have a chance of pulling off a surprise win in Sunday’s Championship game at table-toppers Leigh Centurions.

Rovers climbed above Bradford Bulls to fourth in the table by trouncing Swinton Lions 58-12 last Sunday but they face a tough task at Leigh who are unbeaten in their last 15 league games.

“I think we’ll have to produce our best and then some because Leigh are by far and away the best team in this competition,” said Sharp.

“It needs to be something special, I think that’s the type of performance I’m looking for.

“Every individual has to come up with their best game this year and then as a collective we do as well. Preparation is really important.

“We are reasonably happy with how we’ve been playing. We had a blip against Halifax at the Summer Bash but hopefully we are now back on the horse and we’ll go to Leigh knowing we played well last Sunday against a Swinton team who had won at Halifax and Batley and aren’t a bad team.”

Rovers gave an excellent account of themselves in a 30-24 home defeat against Leigh in April but Sharp is not reading anything into that game.

“I thought we were competitive. We played really well and gave them a bit of a fright that day but it counts for nothing,” he added.

“The players should have a bit of belief psychologically from that match but it’s a fresh game this Sunday and we are coming up against a team who are very difficult to beat on their own ground.”

The Rovers boss was pleased with his side’s display last Sunday when they also boosted their points difference in their bid to finish in the top-four.

“It’s as tight as a drum for the top-four and it may well come down to points difference at the end of the year,” said Sharp.

“At the minute we are looking all right but it can quickly change.

“We played some really good stuff against Swinton. I thought we showed some determination as well, just to hang in there and not panic.

“At half-time, it was a very calm dressing room. We knew that we had created three or four chances and didn’t quite take them but we knew we were winning the energy battle. I thought we came out all guns blazing and played too quickly for them.

“We tried to right a few wrongs and just play as well as we possibly could. There weren’t many errors at all in the game.

“We played with composure and with focus and determination.”

Half-back Jordan Abdull has now returned to Hull FC after his loan period ended.

Sharp said: “It was a successful loan and it worked well for all parties. It helped us regarding getting Kyle Briggs back fit and it worked for Abdull and Hull.

“Abdull added plenty to us and it also gave us the opportunity to protect Briggs from not overplaying him after a nasty ankle injury.

“I thought we saw the benefit of that last Sunday. I thought Kyle had probably his best game this year.”