THE PRESSURE is off Featherstone Rovers going into today’s Betfred Super-8s opener at home to Leigh Centurions (3pm).
The Kingstone Press Championship part-timers have nothing to lose today and everything to gain according to boss John Duffy, who is a former Leigh player.
“We’ve set ourselves some targets through the next few weeks and – like the other Championship teams – we want to beat the Championship teams,” Duffy said.
“That is what we have got to aim for and anything else will be a bonus. I don’t think Leigh have always liked coming to Featherstone and we have got an opportunity to perform really well and give a good account of ourselves.”
While Rovers are outsiders for promotion – and even the million pound game – Leigh are fighting for their Super League lives.
They were promoted through the Qualifiers last year, but finished second from bottom in the table and Duffy reckons all the pressure is on them.
He added: “We are relatively injury-free, we’ve got a really good squad and there’s no pressure on us.
“We’ve got to go out and enjoy it – but we have got to earn the right to play by getting ourselves in good field position.”
Rovers lost all seven of their extra matches in 2016, but Duffy, who will be in charge of a home game for the first time since succeeding Jon Sharp last month, insisted that is “all forgotten about”.
He said: “It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks for the players with a new coach coming in, but we are trying to take a bit of a fresh approach.
“We want the players to enjoy it, it is exciting times and they have bought into what we are doing.
“We are looking forward to seeing how we go.
“Preparations have been really good.
“The players are a fantastic group, we have changed a few things to freshen them up – because it is a long season – and they have all bought into that.”
New signing from Wigan Conor Farrell is set to make his Rovers debut and John Davies is back in contention after injury, but Jason Walton is ruled out and Chris Ulugia remains on the casualty list.