Karl: Rovers game so big it doesn’t need hype

Karl Harrison
Karl Harrison
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Halifax coach Karl Harrison has said there is no need for him to “talk up” the importance of Sunday’s Championship blockbuster against Featherstone at the Shay (3.0).

Fax leapfrogged Rovers after winning in North Wales last weekend and now lead Andy Hay’s side by a point in the race for second place and the £450,000 in prize money that goes with it.

And while Harrison refuses to concede Sunday’s result will be decisive, he admits no one at the club is under any illusions.

“Everyone knows how important this game is,” said Harrison, whose side were written off in mid-season after a string of shaky results left them hanging off the pace.

“I don’t need to build it up or try to play it down, the players are a smart bunch and they’re well aware of what it’s about this weekend.

“It won’t settle anything for definite one way or another; we could win and still end up finishing third or lose and end up second.

“I’ve said it a thousand times, there will be twists and turns before the season is over and that will still be the case whatever happens on Sunday because there are two more games after that.

“We’ve just focused on our own preparation and getting that right, because if we do that the scoreboard and the league table will look after themselves.

“We’ve been playing with a knockout mentality for the last few weeks because we knew we had to win, win, win.

“We’ve done that and we just need to keep it going against a very good Featherstone team.”

Harrison assessed Rovers as being “unfortunate” in their 40-point loss at champions Leigh last Friday, suggesting it was a “50/50” game.

“They just didn’t take their chances and Leigh did, but I think the scoreline was misleading,” said Harrison.

“They’re playing well; the props Steve Crossley and Matt James are strong, Chris Annakin from Wakefield is very explosive in the middle of the field and they’ve a very, very dangerous centre in Greg Worthington.”

The injury issues that plagued Fax after the 20-17 at Wrexham appear to have eased slightly, with Adam Robinson (calf) the biggest doubt.

“We had a few guys who couldn’t train on Tuesday,” said Harrison.

“Robinson, Tony Tonks, Tommy Saxton and Danny Cowling didn’t do contact, so we’ll assess them as we get nearer to the game.”

Wales forward Andy Bracek and versatile playmaker Paul Mennell, both rested for the trip to North Wales, are certainties to return.

Harrison also has half back Simon Brown, 18th man last weekend, and winger Peter Fox available, although Fox’s chances of a recall receded after rival Gareth Potts’ matchwinning performance against the Crusaders.

“We’ve some decisions to make,” conceded Harrison.