Cup is not a distraction

HALIFAX captain Sean Penkywicz insists the club’s appearance in next month’s Northern Rail Cup final will not distract them from their charge towards the Championship play offs.

Fax currently sit seventh on the league ladder, five points behind sixth-placed Widnes, but with three successive league wins behind them.

And Penkywicz, who made a shock comeback from a broken toe in last Thursday’s NRC semi final win at Featherstone, is keen to maintain the momentum ahead of Sunday’s home date with second-placed Batley.

“The focus is all on Batley now, because we all know how difficult that game is going to be,” said Penkywicz, who will face Leigh, his hometown club, at Bloomfield Road on July 17.

“Blackpool is put away for now, we are not even thinking about that.

“It’s big for the fans and the club, and they deserve it.

“But we’re not going to get distracted by it because it’s still a month away.

“We celebrated the win on Thursday, but we were back in Saturday morning training again.

“We can’t afford to slip up this weekend.”

Penkywicz seems certain to play against the Bulldogs, despite needing a pain-killing injection to make it on to the field at Post Office Road, just 48 hours after coach Matt Calland declared he had “no chance” of facing Rovers.

“I only trained the day before, which was the first time since I broke it in the Sheffield game,” said Penkywicz, whose extra time kick and chase forced the repeat set that led to Danny Jones’ winning drop goal.

“It was of those that if I played, I didn’t know how long I was going to last, fitness wise.

“I was back at the docs on Friday, with the cast back on.

“As soon as I started playing the adrenalin kicked in, I was fine. I think I played half a game against Sheffield with it like that anyway.

“The kick was just the normal thing for me: I’m off the cuff, so I just saw the space in behind and kicked it.

“I didn’t call it, and it was a great chase from Ryan Clayton to get up there and get the drop out.

“We’d talked about pushing up with the ball and it paid off for us in the end.”