Rovers ready for tough test against Bulldogs

Rovers coach Ryan Sheridan: "Our attititude has been fantastic." Picture: Steve Riding.
Rovers coach Ryan Sheridan: "Our attititude has been fantastic." Picture: Steve Riding.

Featherstone Rovers will aim to keep up the pressure at the top of the Kingstone Press Championship when they host Batley Bulldogs at Big Fellas Stadium on Sunday.

It is the first of two crucial games in five days for Rovers who take on Halifax at The Shay next Thursday evening.

Sunday’s 40-0 victory over Workington put Rovers just one point behind leaders Sheffield Eagles in a wide-open race to lift the League Leaders’ Shield.

Featherstone’s home game against Sheffield on July 21 has been postponed and is now likely to played next month because the Eagles are involved in the Northern Rail Cup final.

Coach Ryan Sheridan is expecting a tough test on Sunday when Rovers aim to complete a double over fourth-placed Batley who they beat 16-12 at Mount Pleasant in May.

The Bulldogs will look to bounce back after losing 23-6 at Leigh in last Thursday’s Northern Rail Cup semi-final.

“It’s very tight at the top and every game is a key one,” said Sheridan.

“Batley are a good team with some excellent players. It was tough at their place, like it always is.

“They will be coming here on the back of a loss but they’ve had a great year so far.

“We shouldn’t need any motivation on Sunday. I think it is going to be a cracking game and we are looking forward to it.

“Our next two matches are extremely tough so our preparation has got to be spot on. We all up there in the mix and nipping at each other’s heels.

“Our attitude has been fantastic in the last few weeks. It’s a case of maintaining that and building our intensity and purpose.”

Prop Matt James (cut lip) was the only minor casualty last Sunday when Rovers welcomed back Tim Spears and Jonny Hepworth from injury.

“They were a little rusty but it was good to get them on the park and give them game time,” said Sheridan, who was pleased with the victory against Workington.

“The second-half wasn’t too great but overall 40-0 is an excellent result,” he said.

“To nil any team is a great achievement although I still think there is plenty of improvement in us and I think the lads would agree with that.

“Liam Finn and Andy Kain are combining well and playing excellently which is good to see. We are getting a good balance of play at both edges of the field.

“They are very clever players and they are key to our game along with our number nines.”

Today (Saturday) Rovers under 16s and under 19s host London Broncos at 1.15pm and 3pm respectively. Admission is £3 adults £1 concessions/juniors.