Featherstone Rovers pleased to change focus to cup

Anthony Thackeray, close to comeback after injury.
Anthony Thackeray, close to comeback after injury.

Featherstone Rovers boss John Duffy reckons his players are looking forward to a change of focus this week with a break from the grind of churning out points in the Betfred Championship.

The Ladbrokes Challenge Cup takes centre stage again with Rovers set to make the short travel to play Doncaster at the Keepmoat Stadium on Sunday.

Taking on a side from the division below will present a different challenge for the Featherstone players, but they go into the fifth round tie in fine spirits after ending Barrow’s 23-month unbeaten home record last Sunday.

Featherstone ran out 38-26 victors at Craven Park to move two points clear of Toulouse in second place in the Championship and can take a break from the competition knowing it is a good job done so far.

Rewards for victory over Doncaster are clear as it would put Rovers in the hat along with all the big boys for next Tuesday’s sixth-round Ladbrokes Challenge Cup draw.

“We are okay with where we are at in terms of the league table and are now able to focus on the Challenge Cup,” said head coach Duffy.

“Doing well in the cup is something we spoke about at length during the close season.

“We are looking forward to travelling to a great stadium and playing on a brilliant surface, at Doncaster, for what should be a really good game.

“I hope plenty of our fans can get over there.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the fans who travelled to Barrow. Their fantastic support means a lot to me and the players.”

Despite bringing the points back from Barrow Duffy believes his team can play better and felt his side tried too hard to entertain at stages in last Sunday’s game.

He added: “We gave some sloppy penalties away but it is always tough going there, so I am glad we got the victory.

“We overplayed, where we just needed to build pressure and run hard.

“The lads will have a tough week at training as we look to fix a few things up. A win is a win but we need to be better.”

Duffy could have more players to pick from in the next few weeks with Anthony Thackeray back in training following his elbow injury and Chris Ulugia hoping to get the all clear to return after his shoulder injury.

Forwards Scott Wheeldon (dislocated elbow) and Jason Walton (knee) are also close to coming back to give Duffy more options.

Tickets for the Sunday’s cup clash are on sale now, priced at £15 (adults), £11 (concessions) and £5 (juniors), while under 5s can gain admission free.

Junior Rovers members will be able to exchange a ‘special voucher 9’ in their membership booklets for a complimentary ticket, while disabled supporters will be able to obtain a carer’s pass free of charge.

To buy tickets, supporters can visit the Rovers store all week – from 10am to 3pm – or call 01977 702386 during normal office hours.