Bradford v Featherstone: Bulls test will show how far Rovers have come

Epalahame Lauaki, right, will play for BRadford Bulls at home to Featherstone Rovers tonight.
Epalahame Lauaki, right, will play for BRadford Bulls at home to Featherstone Rovers tonight.
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FEATHERSTONE Rovers coach Andy Hay says the pressure is on hosts Bradford Bulls in tonight’s Championship encounter at Odsal (8pm).

“These blokes should be jumping out of their skin to play Bradford and to play at Odsal,” said Hay of his players.

“It doesn’t come around often and these are the games you want to be in. I’m sure the motivation will be there and we’ll see a big improvement from last Sunday, because we’ll have to.

“It is a game to see how far we’ve come. Both teams played on Sunday and it will come down to who’s got the best attitude on the night.”

Bulls went top with a 34-16 home victory over Batley Bulldogs three days ago and are on a 17-game winning streak.

Hay said: “They need to carry on winning, because they are chasing top spot, but we need to win to get into the top four, so it’s two teams who need a win.

“The pressure is on them. They are the team who are expected to bounce back into Super League. They are full-time and they’ve got a massive squad. They are spending up to the salary cap and we are nowhere near it.

“There’s no pressure on us but there’s a lot of improvements to be made from the Hunslet game.”

Rovers scored 42 points against Hawks, but Hay was not happy with the 34 they conceded. “We were probably 20 per cent below where we should have been in all our efforts and we will need that tonight.”

Bradford – who include forward Epalahame Lauaki tonight – have released forward Sam Bates, 19, who has struggled with an ankle injury.

Warrington forward Ben Currie has been given a two-match ban for making deliberate physical contact with referee Richard Silverwood in the back during the Wolves’ 34-24 Challenge Cup quarter-final win over Leigh on Saturday.