FEATHERSTONE ROVERS’ schedule over the next two weeks has been slammed as “absolutely ridiculous” by frustrated coach Jon Sharp.
Tomorrow’s Kingstone Press Championship derby at Bradford Bulls (3pm) is the first of four games in two weeks for Rovers.
They visit their Betfred Super League partner club Leeds Rhinos in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-finals next Friday, are in league action at home to Swinton Lions the following Wednesday and then travel to London Broncos for what could be a crucial match in the top-four race just four days later.
The Rugby Football League have rejected Rovers’ appeal against the midweek date for the Swinton game, which has been rearranged from next Sunday, leaving Sharp angry, upset and concerned over his players’ welfare. He said: “Super League coaches have rightly bemoaned their schedule, but they should try doing it against full-time teams and then going to work the day after.
“It is absolutely ridiculous what we’ve been asked to do.
“We have got four games in two weeks and three of them are against full-time teams.”
Sharp reckons the fixture pile-up will test his squad to its limit. He added: “Everyone in the squad will play.
“We will have to rotate the group, there will be a lot of chopping and changing over the next four games to keep some energy in them.”
With such a tough schedule ahead of them Rovers can’t afford to slip-up tomorrow against opponents who have lost their last seven matches.
Bradford pushed leaders Hull KR close two weeks ago at the Summer Bash before losing to second-bottom Dewsbury Rams last weekend.
That result edged Bulls - who are bottom of the table, on minus two points - closer to relegation, but Sharp reckons his team will have to be switched on from the start to avoid an upset.
“We will be prepared for the Bradford team that went out at Blackpool and played extremely well,” Sharp insisted.
“They were unlucky not to get something out of that game.
“If we don’t prepare well and have a good attitude it is going to be a struggle.
“They have got a big, aggressive pack of forwards and we are expecting a battle.”