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Wednesday, 22 June 2011 13:14

Championship Preview

Saturday April 2 

Barrow Raiders v Batley Bulldogs (7.30pm)

Barrow Raiders’ new coach Nigel Wright believes his side are capable of building on last week’s 42-16 win over York with another convincing performance against Batley Bulldogs.

Wright said: “We’re changing a couple of things as we go, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

“We could have come away with a win against Leigh, and we backed that up with a proper performance against York.”

“It’s still nowhere near where I reckon this group of players can get to, but you can’t go running before you walk.”

Raiders could also play ‘a couple’ of debutants as Wright works to complete transfer deals before Saturday’s match.

Batley coach Karl Harrison steered his team to a 38-12 win over Hunslet last week, but he will be forced to make at least one change for Saturday’s trip to Barrow.

Ash Lindsay was given a two-match ban at Tuesday’s RFL disciplinary hearing, although Harrison is boosted by the news that none of his squad suffered injuries against the Hawks.

 

Toulouse Olympique v Featherstone Rovers (7pm)

Inconsistent Toulouse Olympique will search for their second win of the Co-operative Championship campaign on Saturday.

But coach Gilles Dumas knows his men need to show significant improvement from last week’s 34-16 defeat at Sheffield if they are to have any chance of overturning Featherstone Rovers.

Influential import Josh Lewis is expected to return for Olympique after overcoming an ankle injury, but hooker Craig Cook faces two months out with a knee injury.

Rory Bromley (Achilles) is also out, but Bruno Ormeno could recover from a thigh problem in time to face Rovers.

Matty Dale could return to Daryl Powell’s Featherstone squad. Rovers will travel to France on Friday in an effort to acclimatise ahead of Saturday’s game.

 

Sunday April 3

 

Sheffield Eagles v Halifax RLFC (3pm)

Eagles’ Jack Howieson and Dane McDonald face late fitness tests for the Eagles, who last week beat Toulouse 34-16. Winger Danny Mills (dislocated finger) will also be assessed before the game.

However, Aston is demanding a change in attitude for Sunday’s match. He said: “I’m not happy about the way we played in the second half, we were disrespectful.”

“I asked the lads to be ruthless, and we weren’t.”

Miles Greenwood (dead leg) is Halifax’s most recent injury concern, having suffered the injury during the 32-20 defeat against Featherstone.

Halifax are at the bottom of the Co-operative Championship table as the only team to have lost all of their games this season. They also missed out to Widnes Vikins in the race for a Super League licence from 2012.

Coach Matt Calland said: “I can’t fault the effort, but we need to be smarter in certain areas. We showed a lack of discipline in the second half (against Featherstone), and that started the rot.”

 

Widnes Vikings v York City Knights (3pm)

Widnes Vikings will hope to celebrate being given a Super League Licence from 2012. coach Denis Betts is set to be without Kurt Haggerty (knee) for Sunday’s visit of York City Knights.

Betts, who labelled his side’s second half performance in their 54-16 defeat at Leigh last week as “embarrassing”, will be expecting a major change in attitude.

York coach Dave Woods has no new injuries to contend with. Woods is hoping for a reaction to last week’s 42-16 defeat against Barrow, but has warned his team not to expect an easy ride at the Stobart Stadium.

Woods said: “It’s a tough one for us this week. We’re going to Widnes after they’ve been hammered twice, and they’re also going to be pretty pumped up by the Super League announcement.”

 

Co-operative Championship One

Sunday April 3

 

Doncaster RLFC v Rochdale Hornets (3pm)

Unbeaten Doncaster go hunting for a fourth consecutive Co-operative Championship One victory by the return of Leeds Rhinos centre Mike Coady on a one-month loan deal. Kyle Kesik is suspended.

Rochdale Hornets coach John Stankevitch is expected to name a similar squad to the one that beat London 40-as they bid to maintain their impressive start to the season.

Coach Tony Miller will be without Mick Butterfield (thigh) and Aaron Dobek (ankle), but are boosted

20 last week.

“We managed to avoid any further injuries,” said Stankevitch. “However, it was a poor performance against London. I’m quite disappointed at the manner in which we’re playing at the minute.”

 

Other games; 

Keighley Cougars v Oldham Roughyeds (3pm)

London Skolars v Whitehaven RLFC (3pm)

Swinton Lions v Gateshead Thunder (3pm)

Workington Town v South Wales Scorpions (1pm)

Jim Collins