Featherstone: Sharp encouraged by improvement

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FEATHERSTONE ROVERS’ promotion hopes are over for this year, but new boss Jon Sharp is confident they are an improving team.

Rovers will play in the Kingstone Press Championship Shield – the bottom-8s – after a 38-28 defeat by Sheffield Eagles two days ago left them four points outside the top-four with one one round of the regular season remaining. It was Sharp’s second game in charge – following a 52-18 defeat at Leigh Centurions – and he said: “We are a work in progress. Looking at it from last week to this, we made really big strides.

“The improvement in performance was encouraging and we executed, for large periods of the game, very well.

“We put them under pressure and had them on the back foot for the first 30 minutes, but we weren’t clinical enough and we gave them an opportunity to get back in the game just before half-time, as we did last week.

“But we looked strong and played some adventurous rugby and we defended much better.

“Conceding 38 points is still not good enough, but it was a step in the right direction.”

Sharp admitted he is still getting to know his players and deciding what is his best line-up, as well as learning about the opposition at Championship level.

Ian Hardman (head) and Thomas Minns (hamstring) both picked up knocks in Sunday’s game, but could be fit to face visitors Whitehaven on Saturday.