Powell: We must cut down errors against Knights

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FEATHERSTONE coach Daryl Powell wants his side to reduce the errror count in tonight’s match against York City Knights at Huntington Stadium.

Although Rovers comfortably beat Sheffield Eagles last Thursday, Powell (pictured) was disappointed with the high number of mistakes.

“We need to tidy up our game. I thought we made too many errors against Sheffield and we’ll need to cut those down,” he said.

“We’d expect to make 40 to 50 per cent less errors than we made last week.”

Featherstone have beaten York twice this season, winning 32-22 at Hungtington Stadium in the Northern Rail Cup and 44-24 at Bigfellas Stadium in a league match but Powell will certainly not understimate the Knights.

He said: “We’ve beaten York twice but neither of the games has been easy. They have both been real tussles.

“York have played well both times. They were ahead in the second-half when we played them last time so it’s about being focussed and making sure that defensively we are really strong because they’ve got some talented players.

“They challenged us pretty heavily when we played them at Featherstone and they are a tough team to play against on their own field. It’s a pretty tight pitch and it will be a challenge for us.

“It’s one of those matches you can easily lose if you are not where you need to be.”

Powell was pleased was his side’s defence in the 34-6 win against Sheffield.

“The defence was a big step up from the Batley game the previous week.” he said.

“We were much more solid in contact and we were tighter in the contact area so I was pleased with that.

“We handled Menzie Yere okay. He’s a big, strong fellow who can put you under pressure and he’s been good against us in the past. When we have handled him okay our line speed has been good around him and we’ve been pretty physical with him.

“Both teams made 17 errors each which is a lot in a game. It was a bit scrappy at times but we had a bit more quality about our attacking play than Sheffield and some of the things we did were excellent.”

Powell is pleased with the way new signing Ben Cockayne has slotted in.

The former Hull KR made his debut on the wing against Batley and then played at centre against Sheffield.

Powell said: “Ben has slotted in well and he had an outstanding game against Batley.

“It wasn’t Ben’s best game against Sheffield - there were a few errors - but he’ll be looking to step up this week, there’s no doubt about that.

“It was his first run out in the centres with us. He’s obviously got to get used to some elements of playing in a different position in a different team which is always difficult.”

Jon Hepworth will continue at stand-off against York in place of the injured Andy Kain who will be sidelined for several more weeks with a groin injury.

Tim Spears is set to have fitness test tonight on a groin injury.

Skipper Stuart Dickens played against Sheffield after passing a fitness test on a hamstring injury.

Powell said: “Stuart seemed to come through the Sheffield game okay. His hamstring is still troubling him slightly but I don’t think it’s enough to keep him out.

“Jon Hepworth has been playing well and his versaility is one of the features of his game.

“He’ll now get a few games under his belt at six with Andy Kain being out for a while. It will give Jon an opportunity to settle into one position for a bit.”

Powell does not expect injured props Mick Haley and Iain Morrison to play again this season.

He said: “Obviously, we will continue to monitor the situation but I am not expecting either of them to be back. It would be a massive bonus if they were back.”

Centre Nathan Chappell is also out for the remainder of the season. He will have a knee operation next month.

Powell says Liam Finn will continue with the goalkicking, despite landing only one goal from six kicks against Sheffield. Dickens also failed with two goal attempts.

“To be honest Liam just needs some support,” said Powell.

“Whether you are a player in open and general play or if you are a goalkicker or a kicker who kicks from hand you have periods in your game where you are not going quite as well as you could do.

“But it’s about perseverance and confidence and the coaching staff providing support as well.

“I’ve said to Liam that I’m not going to jump all over him for missing goal kicks. It’s not something that’s easy and he’s generally kicking from near the touchline for us at the moment. Most of our tries are wide out.

“Kyle Briggs before him had dips with his goalkicking and Liam has had dips as well but I’d expect him to come out of it pretty quickly.”

“Stuart had a couple of shots against Sheffield and he looked a bit out of nick so it’s something we need to develop in our team that we’ve got a number of players who are capable of kicking for goal.”

Featherstone Rovers have two two home Reserves/Under 23 Championship matches in five days. They take on York this evening (7.45pm) and then host Dewsbury on Monday (7.30).

Rovers under 18s are home to Bradford Bulls on Saturday (2.30).

Admission to all the matches is £3 adults and £1 concessions.

Rovers are staging a car boot sale at Bigfellas Stadium on Sunday from 6am to 12.30pm. It costs £7 per car (strictly no traders). All proceeeds go to the Featherstone Rovers foundation.

Latest £500 Rovers lottery winners are S Cooper (K0102), O Plaskitt (B5063), C Bennett (A0459), M Shinners (L5764), S Briggs (H14786). Travellers Rest meal voucher: L Crumpton (V1924).