FEATHERSTONE will not be taking anything for granted against bottom of the table Toulouse Olympique in Sunday’s Co-operative Championship game at Bigfellas Stadium (1pm kick-off).
Rovers, who are unbeaten in their last 10 league matches, will be seeking a league double after winning 56-18 at Toulouse last month but Rovers assistant coach Ryan Sheridan is fully aware the French team are capable of pulling off an upset.
Toulouse have achieved surprise victories on their last two visits to Featherstone, winning 34-18 in 2009 and 26-24 last season when they inflicted Rovers’ first league defeat of the campaign.
“There’s no chance whatsoever of any complacency. Every team we come up against we treat with respect and we plan accordingly,” said Sheridan.
“We were on a roll last season when Toulouse came and beat us in poor conditions. They played really well that night.
“Toulouse now have a couple of players back and it’ll be a tough game for us. We’ve a challenge on our hands and it’s just a matter of getting the consistency now.”
Rovers will be without in-form prop Michael Haley for at least two months after he sustained a broken arm in last Thursday’s 36-28 win at Barrow Raiders.
Fellow prop Iain Morrison suffered a broken jaw the previous week in the Northern Rail Cup semi-final defeat against Halifax.
Sheridan said: “Mick Haley had been playing really well and his injury is a big blow especially after we had already lost Iain Morrison.
“Ross Divorty has been playing out of his skin in the back row so he can push up and cover for Mick.”
Ben Kaye is set to be available after missing the Barrow match because he was on compassionate leave due to a family illness.
Matty Dale is getting close to returning after being sidelined with a broken hand.
Rovers will be checking on Tim Spears and Tom Saxton.
Spears suffered an ankle injury in the early stages at Barrow and Saxton missed the game after pulling out during the warm up with a shin injury.
Greg Worthington, who was 18th man, replaced Saxton and scored a hat-trick of tries.
Sheridan said: “Tommy had had a niggle all week and he’d had been receiving treatment so we had prepared for the possibility of him not playing.
“When we got to Barrow he wasn’t quite right so Daryl Powell made the call to shuffle the team with Greg Worthington coming in and it worked out a treat.”
Sheridan praised Featherstone’s battling display at Barrow.
He said: “It was a great performance in terms of grittiness and character. We lost a couple of blokes through injury and the lads did really well to grind out a tough win.
“When we lost blokes, it affected our rotation and we had people playing out of position but they put themselves about the field and they worked really hard for each other.
“We were really pleased with the character and the effort they showed to get the points.
“It’s a difficult task when you travel up to Barrow on a Thursday which is a workday. It was an outstanding effort from everyone involved.
“It was a tough performance to get the job down. It’s always a tricky place to play so we were very pleased with the win.”
Rovers are organising a trip to this year’s Challenge Cup final which will also incorporate the club’s Co-operative Championship fixture against Sheffield Eagles. The trip will depart Bigfellas Stadium at 7.30am on Saturday, August 27, and head straight to Wembley for the Challenge Cup Final. After the final, there will be an overnight stay at Premier Inn, Milton Keynes. Saturday evening will be free time and for those interested transport will be available to take people to XScape at Milton Keynes.
On the Sunday morning, August 28, following breakfast at Premier Inn, the coach will depart for Bramall Lane, Sheffield, for the Eagles-Rovers game which will include a pre-match meal The coach will return to Bigfellas Stadium after the match.
The cost of the package is £135 per person, which includes match tickets for the Challenge Cup Final and Sheffield Eagles v Featherstone Rovers. A £60 deposit must be made when booking. For details contact Veronica at Rovers on 01977-702386 during office hours (Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Latest £500 winners in the Rovers lottery are Z Khadam (M0405), S Walker (W3473), M Cohen (H4511), C Whitaker (G2506), L Parker (L3992). Travellers Rest meal voucher: G Ackroyd (W1112).