UNDERDOGS FEATHERSTONE Rovers are treating tonight’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final at Leeds Rhinos as a “big opportunity”.
The tie is the first of three games in 10 days for coach Jon Sharp’s men, who are fourth in the Kingstone Press Championship, but he stressed they will be holding nothing back.
“It is a fantastic opportunity to go to Headingley for a night game in front of the Sky TV cameras,” Sharp stressed.
“It will be a first for the majority of our players and I want them to be excited and looking forward to it, not going there worried.
“There’s no pressure on us. Externally we are not expected to win, but internally we want to go there and play well.”
It will be the clubs’ second competitive meeting since they formed a dual-registration partnership at the start of last season.
Leeds won 62-6 at Featherstone in the middle-eights last August and Sharp said: “We have got a different group of players now.
“We have got a really busy schedule coming up – we are trying to spin two plates at once and we didn’t have that challenge last year.
“It is one successful teams have and we have embraced it and we’re looking forward to [tonight] and the next two games which are really important to us as well.”
Rovers’ home match against Swinton Lions, originally set for Sunday, has been moved to next Wednesday and they travel to top-four rivals London Broncos four days later. Sharp admitted Rovers are “frustrated” by the Rugby Football League’s decision to make them play midweek before a crucial trip to the capital, but said he was not tempted to rest players tonight.
“Everybody who’s fit will figure,” he said. “We have an obligation to ourselves, the game and our fans to turn up and have a crack and that’s what we’ll be doing.”
Sharp confirmed on-loan Rhinos half-back Cory Aston will play and he added: “For myself it’s too good an opportunity to miss, having a player like Cory who wants to impress his coach and team-mates.
“He is highly-motivated and determined to do well so it was a fairly easy selection.”