Duffy hoping injury crisis will ease for Featherstone Rovers’ key game

Keal Carlile.
Keal Carlile.

Featherstone Rovers boss John Duffy is counting the bodies available to him ahead of the return to Betfred Championship Shield action after a week’s break.

Rovers are taking on Leigh Centurions at the LD Nutrition Stadium on Sunday (3pm) in a game that can go a long way to determining who finishes top of the Shield league standings and has the reward of hosting the final, which will be between the same two sides.

Featherstone began the Shield on top, but despite winning their two matches so far they have slipped behind Leigh on points difference with the Centurions enjoying some big margin victories despite shedding a number of their highest paid players since it was confirmed they would not be in the top four.

Rovers clearly do not want to slip any further behind, but face the prospect of taking on their closest rivals with a struggle to name a 19-man squad of fit players.

They only had 16 for the last match at Rochdale and then lost Jason Walton to a season ending knee injury.

Head coach Duffy is hoping hooker Keal Carlile will be back from an ankle injury for Sunday’s game while Dakota Whylie, whose loan deal has been extended to the end of the season, should be available after suffering concussion at Rochdale.

Rovers, meanwhile, have not given up on having influential half-back Martyn Ridyard back in the side before the end of the Shield matches.

Strength and conditioning coach Greg Stebbings said: “Ridyard will see a shoulder specialist in September, so will hopefully be signed off to allow him to play the last few games.”

There was less positive news with forward Scott Wheeldon suffering knee ligament damage.