Rovers and Rams ready for intriguing derby clash

Featherstone Rovers' Anthony Thackeray, Matty Wildie and Michael Channing.
Featherstone Rovers' Anthony Thackeray, Matty Wildie and Michael Channing.
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BOTH TEAMS will have a point to prove when Featherstone Rovers play host to Dewsbury Rams in the Kingstone Press Championship tomorrow (3pm).

Rams won twice at Big Fellas Stadium last year and are keen to show that wasn’t a flash in the pan, while for Rovers it is an opportunity to measure how much they have improved.

Anthony Thackeray was a high-profile signing by Rovers from Rams in the off-season, along with the now-injured Matty Wildie.

Rams boss Glenn Morrison said that will add spice to an already key game.

“If we can play our best we are confident we can come away with a win,” Morrison said.

“We haven’t been at our best yet, but hopefully we can improve and get the job done.”

It is Rams’ first meeting with a team tipped to be pushing for a place in the top-four.

“Now we have got a spate of them,” Morrison added.

“We will see how we go. It will be a good test.”

Rovers’ first home defeat by Rams last year ended Andy Hay’s spell as coach.

His successor Jon Sharp said: “They had the wood on Featherstone, but we are a different team and a whole new group of players.

“We have got a different attitude and we are pretty pleased with how we are playing, but we know it is going to tough and we have got to be good.”

Sharp reckons Rovers’ attack will improve as the season goes on, but he added: “We have the best defensive record in the competition.

“We are averaging just 13 points conceded per game and it was just over 25 last year, so we have made massive improvements in that area.”

Rovers’ squad includes hooker Andy Ellis, who has returned to the club after taking a career break at the end of last season.

Meanwhile, Batley Bulldogs face a new challenge tomorrow.

Bulldogs have upset highly-rated Leigh, Sheffield and Halifax this year and lost by two points at Featherstone Rovers, but will go into the visit of Workington Town (3pm) as favourites.

“We have to be on our guard,” coach John Kear warned.

“We are in decent spirits, we are confident and believe in each other, but every week is a different test and that is how it should be.”

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