Rovers aim to keep up excellent away record

Rovers trounced Workington 72-0 at Big Fellas Stadium last month.
Rovers trounced Workington 72-0 at Big Fellas Stadium last month.

Featherstone will aim to maintain their excellent away form in Sunday’s tricky looking Championship game at Workington Town.

Rovers suffered their fifth home defeat of the campaign when they lost 44-20 to Halifax last weekend but they have won all their away league and cup matches this season apart from last month’s Challenge Cup tie at Catalans Dragons when they were pipped 37-34 and the Summer Bash clash against Leigh in Blackpool.

They trounced Workington 72-0 at Big Fellas Stadium last month but the Cumbrians achieved a surprise 20-20 draw at Dewsbury last Sunday and Rovers coach Andy Hay expects a stern test at Derwent Park.

“Obviously, Workington didn’t get off the bus when they came here and we put a big score on them,” said Hay.

“Since then I think their coach has questioned their attitude, belief and desire and obviously they got some of that at Dewsbury. They must have played well and shown the attitude their coach has been asking for.

“We know we are going to get a tough game and we lost up there last year.

“I think our players will be needing to work hard in training this week and fully focused on what they have to do.”

Rovers slipped to sixth in the table with last Saturday’s defeat but they are still only one point behind fourth-placed Dewsbury and Hay remains confident his side will finish in the top-four.

“We still believe as a group we can get in the top-four and that’s what we aim to do. It’s up to us to regroup and come together as a team for the last eight games before we break off.

“We dropped points last weekend and every game now is one we need to win.

“It’s not all doom and gloom. We spoke to the players at half-time and after the game and we addressed some of the issues.

“The players are honest enough to put their hands up and we’ll go forward now this week.

“The top-four is still our target, it’s just made it a little bit more difficult.”

The Rovers camp was hit by a sickness bug shortly before Saturday’s game against Halifax. It saw Andy Bostock ruled out and resulted in Matt James pulling out after the warm up.

Their places were taken by Luke Cooper and new signing Brad England - son of former Castleford player Keith - who also both played for Rovers reserves in Thursday’s 52-0 win at Keighley Cougars.

“We had to make late changes last week due to a sickness bug and it didn’t help us,” said Hay.

“There are about another five players who played who have been struggling since then. It’s not an excuse but it just made things a little bit more difficult.

“Luke Cooper made his Championship debut and I thought he did very well.

“Brad England came on Wednesday and played in the reserves on Thursday night like Luke did.

“He then got a late call up to play in the first-team on Saturday and he did a good job for us.”