TOM Holmes says Featherstone Rovers must “go up a gear” if they are going to end Leigh Centurions’ impressive winning run.
Third-placed Featherstone host last season’s relegated Super League tonight in an eagerly-anticipated Championship clash.
Although Leigh lost three of their opening four games,, they have won 10 on the bounce since Kieron Purtill took over in the wake of Neil Jukes’ resignation.
Rovers, though, tackled Super League opposition last week in the Challenge Cup and – despite being 30-4 behind after 32 minutes – responded well before losing 38-20.
“We were fairly pleased with our performance against Hull,” said ex-Castleford Tigers half-back Holmes.
“We gave it a good go. We let ourselves down during the first half but finished strongly and are looking to build on that going into Saturday against Leigh.
“Leigh are in great form and have turned themselves around since the start of the season.
“Both teams have improved but Leigh are on a long winning run and will be doing everything possible to extend it.”
After Misi Taulapapa and Gareth Hock both picked up bans following incidents in that heated game against Hull, they both miss tonight’s game as does the injured Mitch Clark.
Anthony Thackeray is also out of the 19-man squad as coach John Duffy brings back Leeds Rhinos trio Harry Newman, Jack Ormondroyd and Josh Walters on dual-registration terms.
Holmes added: “It is going to be a very different type of game compared to the last one we played at their place (a 38-30 Featherstone win).
“We will need to go up a gear in order to get the two points.
“It is tight at the top and everyone is pushing hard for a place in the Qualifiers.
“We want to put on a good show for the fans and kick on going into what will be a tough game at the Summer Bash.”
Batley Bulldogs, meanwhile, host Rochdale Hornets looking to complete a quickfire double over their rivals earn a seventh win in the Championship.
Matt Diskin’s side returned to form with an impressive 48-10 victory at Rochdale last week.