Rovers desperate to get back on the pitch

CALLING off Sunday's scheduled pre-season clash with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats would be a "significant blow" for Featherstone Rovers, coach Daryl Powell admitted today.

Rovers are doing "everything possible" to try and ensure the game is played, but this week's heavy snow falls have left the fixture in major doubt.

Featherstone's Boxing Day trial match at home to Doncaster was frozen out and Powell is desperate to give all his players some game time before their competitive season begins at the end of this month.

"We want to play," said Powell. "We have got three games planned now before we start and we need three games.

"We are really keen to get it on. We have got a deep squad this year and I want to give everyone an opportunity to push their claim for starting in the Northern Rail Cup.

"We are really desperate to get a game in. The players are keen, they have been working their tails off for two and a half months and they are ready to go."

Despite their disrupted pre-season, Powell is confident Rovers can be a genuine force in the Co-op Championship this year.

"It is difficult for everybody at the moment and that's one good thing," said Powell.

"Everybody is in the same boat and nobody has been impacted more than anybody else.

"The players are looking really good. We have done a lot of contact work this week and a lot of work inside.

"It is a really good group, the mix is good and they've got a really good work ethic about them.

"We have got more competition for places and I think it will be a good season for us. All the signs are good, but you don't know until you get stuck in and get an opposition in front of you."

Powell plans to field a "really strong" squad if Sunday's game does go ahead.

Papua New Guinea imports Jessie Joe Nandye and Larsen Moraby will be among the substitutes and the coach said both have made a positive impression in training, despite the unfamiliar conditions.

"They've come to the worst winter for 100 years, so it has been a bit cold for them," said Powell.

"But one of them came down the other day to do a few extras, he went out when it was really cold and he was training with his top off – he just had shorts and boots on!

"They are okay when they are moving around, though I think their house is a bit like a sauna. They have fitted in really well."

A decision on Sunday's match could be made this afternoon.

Rovers chief executive Andy Prout said the Bigfellas Stadium pitch is "in good condition" under a covering of snow and club staff are working hard to clear the terraces and public areas.

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