HALIFAX front rower Sean Hesketh knows he is still a long way from the form that made him a Super League target 18 months ago.
But the former Batley forward admits he is rapidly overcoming the after-effects of the eye condition that wrecked his 2011 season.
Hesketh, one of five players to follow new boss Karl Harrison to the Shay from Mount Pleasant last autumn, had posted easily his best performance so far in last week’s 34-32 loss to Featherstone.
“It’s about the team rather than individuals and as long as I am contributing to the team I will be happy,” said Hesketh, whose weight had ballooned last year as a result of prescribed medication.
“Since pre-season I’ve lost about two, two a half stone and I feel a lot better for it.
“There’s always room for improvement, I’m a long way from being where I was and where I want to be, so I will just keep working hard on the training field and take it into games.
“There’s going to be a lot of competition for places as players come back from injury and if you aren’t playing well, you won’t be in the side, it’s as simple as that.”
The reverse against Rovers means Hesketh and his teammates will head to London Skolars for their final Northern Rail Cup group game needing a win to be sure of a place in the last eight.
And despite the Londoners’ reputation as whipping boys, Hesketh underlined the importance of Fax travelling with a professional approach.
“People talk about easy games in rugby league, but there’s no such thing really,” he said.
“We need to travel down there with the right attitude, otherwise we could find ourselves in a dogfight.
“We don’t want to find ourselves in that kind of situation because we need the win to make sure we progress to the next round.
“I think we proved we can compete with Featherstone last week, so we’ll take the positives from it, learn from the mistakes we made and correct them for the games to come, starting on Sunday.”
Former Wigan and Hull full-back Cameron Phelps wants to help his new club Widnes break their duck on Sunday, even though he has only just arrived in the country.
The Vikings announced the capture of the 27-year-old ex-Canterbury Bulldogs player on the eve of the new Stobart Super League season but he was forced to kick his heels back home in Australia for the first month because of red tape.
“Hopefully, if Denis thinks I’m in decent shape, he’ll include me in his plans for our game at Hull KR on Sunday afternoon,” he said.
“I did something similar at Hull FC last year when I joined them part way into their season. I arrived on the Thursday and then played on the Sunday.”