COACH JON Sharp has described Sunday’s trip to Bradfords Bulls as another “must-win game” in Featherstone’s bid for a Kingstone Press Championship top-four spot.
Rovers are three points clear of fifth-placed Halifax after Sunday’s 20-20 draw against leaders Hull KR but head coach Sharp says they can’t afford to stumble in their remaining seven fixtures in the regular season against Bradford, London, Oldham and Toulouse away and Batley, Swinton and Halifax at home.
“We need to be good at Bradford because it’s a big game for us. It’s a big game for our standing in the competition,” said Sharp.
“It’s a must-win game. We can’t afford any more slip ups.”
Featherstone have beaten Bradford twice this season, winning 21-13 at Odsal in the Challenge Cup and 44-18 at LD Nutrition Stadium in the league.
The Bulls lost 38-12 at Dewsbury last Sunday but went desperately close to beating Hull KR at the Summer Bash in Blackpool before being pipped 20-19.
Their line-up includes Leeds Rhinos loan players Jordan Lilley and Mikolaj Oledzki who have both played for Featherstone on dual registration, Lilley three times last season and Oledzki twice this year.
“I watched Bradford against Hull KR and they were absolutely outstanding,” added Sharp.
“Jordan Lilley was brilliant so we are going to have to do a good job on him. We know he is a great player.
“They’ve some really good individuals and a forward pack that will need containing.
“We will be treating Bradford as the team that played against Hull KR because that is what they are capable of.
“We know what Oledzki and Lilley are capable of. Sam Hallas looks a real threat around the ruck areas as well so we’ve got to be really good.
“We’ve a tough four to six weeks ahead of us. We play a lot of full-time teams in that spell.”
The Rovers boss was delighted with his side’s performance against Hull KR last Sunday as they recovered superbly from the hammering against London at the Summer Bash.
“This team has played 18 games and had one blip so I think the less we dwell on the London defeat the better. I think we’ve put a line under that with the performance against Hull KR,” he said.
“I was just pleased with the effort, endeavour and commitment the boys showed last Sunday. There was a massive improvement in attitude which I asked for.
“I’m delighted that we’ve competed twice against the best team in the competition and there’s never been anything between us
“I had mixed feelings really on Sunday.
“We won it, we lost it and we ended up drawing it.
“I thought we blew the opportunity to win the game by losing the ball over the try line. Missed goal kicks also cost us two points.
“It was a really good game. Both teams were very physical and both packs tried to dominate each other.
“I thought we played some really good football but credit to Hull Kingston Rovers for battling their way back into the game.”
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