Featherstone facing half-back headache for big London game

Matty Wildie, who has been suspended for one match. Picture: Dec Hayes
Matty Wildie, who has been suspended for one match. Picture: Dec Hayes

Featherstone Rovers face a potential half-back headache ahead of their massive match with London Broncos at the LD Nutrition Stadium.

Already without injured duo Martyn Ridyard and Tom Holmes, they have moved hooker Matty Wildie into the halves in recent weeks, alongside Anthony Thackeray, but now look like going into their four-pointer with the Broncos with just the latter.

Wildie is set to miss the game after picking up a one match ban from the RFL’s match review panel for using “foul and abusive language to a match official”.

Rovers have been able to call on dual registered Jordan Lilley to play scrum-half this season, but he has gone on loan to Bradford Bulls this week so will be unavailable.

Brad Dwyer’s return to the Rhinos side last week has left Fev short at hooker as well, although they did bring in promising youngster Aaron Smith on loan from St Helens to fill in the number nine position. Another short term loan could be the answer this week.

Elsewhere, Connor Farrell and Chris Ulugia remain on the long term injury list, leaving Featherstone down to bare bones before the inclusion of any dual registered players they will be allowed from Leeds Rhinos.

Head coach John Duffy will be looking for more positive news from forwards James Lockwood, Sam Brooks and Brad Knowles who all missed last week’s Swinton game, but have not been ruled out for this Sunday when Rovers face their biggest league match since they beat Bradford in July, 2016 to clinch a Middle 8s Qualifiers spot.

Winger Luke Briscoe was back in the Rovers fold last week, but looks set to join Leeds Rhinos on a permanent deal for 2019.

Last month, the prolific scoring winger joined the Rhinos on a loan deal until the end of the season, but it is understood that Leeds are keen to make the move permanent.