Featherstone Rovers ready for big test in James Ford's first game as head coach
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After the decision was made to part company with Sean Long after defeat to Halifax in the last match fans will be eagerly anticipating the game to see what kind of impact Ford will be able to make after taking up his new challenge.
Ford is aiming to hit the ground running after being handed the reins on an interim basis until the end of the season, but knows he faces a tough baptism with a trip to the Olympic Legacy Park to play Sheffield Eagles on Friday, kick-off 7.30pm.
Rovers will need to be at their best to come away with the points with both sides looking to bounce back from defeats before the Challenge Cup final break.
Fev were edged out by 1895 Cup winners Halifax as they suffered their first league defeat on the road this season while the Eagles’ play-offs hopes suffered a blow as they dropped points to Whitehaven.
Rovers know the challenge they can expect after Sheffield gave them one of their toughest tests at the Millennium Stadium this year and were a little unlucky to be on the losing side of the result earlier in the season.
Mark Aston’s side will not lack motivation as it includes a number of former Featherstone players, including Jesse Sene-Lefao, Anthony Thackeray and Kris Welham.
They sit in third place in the Betfred Championship table, but with 12 points between the sides a win for Rovers will take them close to sealing the League Leaders Shield.
For head man Ford it will be a return to one of his former clubs as he made 78 appearances for Sheffield between 2005 and 2008 and has fond memories of playing for the South Yorkshire side.
“We’re very aware that this week is an immense challenge,” he said.
"Sheffield are a strong side, even better at home and we’ll play the best version of Sheffield.
"We’ve trained well this week, the players have responded well and I expect to see us take a step forward on Friday night.”