FEATHERSTONE Rovers coach Daryl Powell is predicting a “brutal” Northern Rail Cup encounter when his side visit the Shay on Sunday (3.0).
Powell, who guided the Post Office Road club to the 2011 Co-operative Championship, will pit his wits against Karl Harrison this weekend for the first time since his former Test teammate moved to Halifax from Batley.
And with both clubs putting 100 per cent records on the line, coupled with the chance to strike an early psychological blow ahead of the league season, Powell has no doubts that sparks will fly.
“I think it’s going to be a pretty brutal game, to be honest,” said Powell, the former Sheffield stand off who regularly played alongside Harrison for Great Britain in the 1990s.
“Both sets of players will want to put a marker down against a team they expect to be challenging them this year.
“That’s certainly how we see it and we’ll go at it pretty hard to try and get the win.
“I know Halifax have a few injuries at the moment in the forward pack, but I watched them at Dewsbury a couple of weeks ago and saw a fair bit of character that day.
“Personally, I have a lot of respect for Karl as a coach and he commands a lot of respect in the game as well.
“He goes about his business in an exceptional way and he’s got a bit of a fear factor about him as well.
“We both like our teams to put in a tough defensive effort and I’m sure we’ll see that on Sunday. His players will want to play for him and perform well, I can guarantee that.”
Powell, whose side virtually mirrored Fax’s form with a 36-8 win over Dewsbury at the weekend, also urged supporters of both clubs to end the rancour that stems from the assault on Halifax supporter David Singer after the 2010 Grand Final, which Fax won.
Fans will be segregated this weekend, with the Rovers contingent confined to the Skircoat Stand.
“We have to err on the side of caution,” said Powell, who attended a fundraiser for Singer, who was left with life-threatening injuries, in Calderdale last autumn.
“The game will be played in the right spirit on the field and people need to support it in the right spirit too.
“We need to move on, and while it is going to take time, there is no reason why bridges cannot be built.”
Halifax have also announced a dinner to raise cash to support Singer’s recovery, with support from the RFL’s Benevolent Fund and Featherstone, which will be held at Headingley on Saturday, June 16.
“It’s important that fans of both clubs are aware that we are working together to support Dave,” said Halifax’s commercial manager Pete Emmett.
Further details are available from the club on 01422 342792.