Kingstone Press Championship
Sunday 26 May
Leigh Centurions v Keighley Cougars (3.00pm)
Leigh Centurions coach Paul Rowley has been dealt a major blow with the news that Ryan Brierley is facing six weeks out with medial ligament damage.
Martin Ridyard is also missing for Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship fixture with Keighley Cougars.
Rowley said: “Ryan and Martin have been in great form, so we’ve got some challenges this week.”
He added: “We were more than happy with what we came up with at Featherstone last week.
“We’ve been in good form and consistent for a number of weeks, and our defence has been absolutely huge. We need to continue producing that kind of effort.”
Ben Sagar, Joe Chandler, James Haley and player-coach Paul March all face late fitness tests before Keighley’s squad is finalised.
March said: “We played Leigh in the Northern Rail Cup, but both teams will have improved since then. Our league position doesn’t say how well we’ve been playing.
“Our game against Batley showed that we can compete with the top four, and going to Leigh, where there’s a nice wide field… we’ll see what happens.”
Friday May 24
Kingstone Press Championship
Sheffield Eagles v Halifax (7.30pm)
Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston could be without three key players as he tries to plot a second victory over Halifax in 14 days.
Aston’s men won 28-12 in a Tetley’s Challenge Cup clash two weeks ago and are now determined to narrow the gap at the top of the Kingstone Press Championship table.
But Ben Gledhill (concussion), Misi Taulapapa (ankle) and Colton Roche (thumb) are all in doubt for Friday’s clash at Bramall Lane.
Aston admitted: “A few of the lads are busted up.”
Halifax coach Karl Harrison is set to check on captain Scott Murrell after he missed last week’s defeat at Dewsbury Rams with a hamstring injury.
The visitors are also likely to be without Anthony Bowman, who played in the club’s under 20s fixture with Leigh Centuriosn on Wednesday night.
Harrison is searching for a first win since May 5, and insists his team will have to improve from last week if they are to pick up the points.
He said: “Some of the mistakes that individuals made were inexcusable and in the end we got what we deserved.”
Sunday May 26
Kingstone Press Championship
Dewsbury Rams v Swinton Lions (3.00pm)
Aaron Brown is Dewsbury’s only doubt as Rams coach Glenn Morrison tries to build on last week’s victory over Halifax.
Brown, who played with a sore knee, will face a late fitness test before Morrison confirms his plans for the Swinton Lions clash.
Morrison said: “It was a great performance last week, and I’m pleased for the guys because they’ve been putting in the hard work for a number of weeks.
“We knew we’d been turning it around, and now we’ve got to kick on from here.
“We need to win these next couple of games against teams that are around us in the table.
“If we can do that it will take us further away from the pressure zone and we’ll have kept building in the right direction.”
Swinton coach Gary Chambers is without suspended pair David Mills and Gene Ormsby.
Chambers said: “Dewsbury must be in a bit of form because Halifax are no mugs. It will be tough on their ground and a good test for us.”
Featherstone Rovers v York City Knights (3.00pm)
Interim Featherstone Rovers coach Ryan Sheridan looks set to check on the fitness of Greg Worthington before deciding his team to face York City Knights.
Sheridan is aiming to steer Featherstone to three points in Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship match after suffering a rare home defeat against Leigh Centurions last week.
Sheridan said: “There was lots of effort from our blokes, but it was just misguided at times.”
York are likely to travel without Adam Sullivan and Jack Latus, while Tom Carr (elbow) is also ruled out for the next two or three weeks after picking up a knock against Catalan Dragons.
However, Knights coach Gary Thornton is boosted by news that Sam Scott and Jack Lee came through unscathed from last week’s match with Doncaster.
Thornton said: “Ryan taking over for the rest of the season gives them continuity. He’ll know the players and I wouldn’t have thought that he’ll change too much about how they play.
“We beat them at home and they’ll have that in the back of their minds, so we know the challenge ahead.”
He added: “We’re in a lull at the moment. Our form’s not been great and it’s a challenge to get out of that, but this week is an opportunity to do so as the pressure is off.
“Our main concern is to get our form back. We haven’t been playing well since our match against Hunslet and we’ve certainly dipped a bit.”
Whitehaven v Barrow Raiders (3.00pm)
Whitehaven coach Dave Woods has urged his side to follow up last week’s comprehensive victory over London Skolars with another impressive display on Sunday.
Whitehaven won 62-16 after travelling to the capital, and now return to Kingstone Press Championship action with huge confidence.
Woods said: “We were pretty happy with our first half. We did a lot of things right and really set the platform.
“We’ve got to make the most of this week and try to get a good win against Barrow.
“They’re hot and cold; they’ve won a few and then lost a couple by big scores, but we know that whenever they play us they’ll be fired up.
“Darren (Holt) will have picked this as a three pointer for them. They’ll be fired up for sure.”
Woods has a fully fit squad to pick from, while Barrow Raiders coach Darren Holt is sweating on the fitness of captain Liam Harrison (wrist).
Holt admitted: “It would be a big blow if Liam wasn’t available.”
Jamie Butler and Ruairi McGoff will also be checked later in the week.
Workington Town v Doncaster (3.00pm)
Workington Town coach Gary Charlton wants to wipe out the memories of February’s 26-4 defeat by Doncaster with a win on Sunday.
Charlton said: “They gave us a touch up down at their place, so we’re looking to repay the compliment this week.”
He added: “Doncaster are a good team. They’re well coached and Tony Miler gets the best out of his teams.
“We know we’re in for a rough ride, and it’s not just about stopping Paul Cooke – they’ve got good players right across the board.”
Kayle Connor is struggling to be fit after suffering an ankle ligament injury, while Jamie Acton (neck) is also likely to miss this week’s Kingstone Press Championship action.
In-form Doncaster have won two of their last three games, beating York City Knights and Keighley Cougars either side of a brave defeat against Super League side Widnes Vikings.
Kingstone Press Championship One
Oldham v Gateshead Thunder (1.00pm)
Both sides look to be at full strength for Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship One clash at the Whitebank Stadium.
Determined Oldham coach Scott Naylor is urging his men to continue their emphasis on solid defence after conceding just 58 points in four games.
Naylor said: “We’ve worked hard on our defence and we’ve improved loads since the Northern Rail Cup.
“It’s also about scoring points. I wasn’t happy with our attack against Oxford, but we played with a lot more attacking freedom at Hemel and hopefully that will continue.”
The Roughyeds beat Gateshead 34-16 in March, but Thunder coach Kevin Neighbour has set his sights on a better result this week.
Neighbour said: “We’ve definitely improved since then, but so have Oldham.
“They got a good result against Hemel in their last game and it’ll be a decent game on Sunday.
“Oldham are fairly physical up the middle and they’re a very capable team, so we’ll have to be ready for them.”
Gloucestershire All Golds v Rochdale Hornets (3.00pm)
Gloucestershire All Golds coach Brad Hepi believes his side’s week off will give them an extra boost ahead of Sunday’s match with Rochdale Hornets.
Gloucestershire did not play last week, leaving Hepi with a fully fit squad to select from.
Hepi said: “The boys have had a couple of good sessions, they’re mentally rested, and they should be up for it on Sunday.
“Everyone is fit and strong, and hopefully we’ll also have a new Welsh recruit.
“Chris Clough has also joined us for the rest of the season, and that’ll hopefully provide a bit of toughness up front.”
Dayne Donoghue will be given a fitness test on Thursday after taking part in full training on Tuesday. Alex Trumper is definitely ruled out.
Hornets coach Ian Talbot said: “Any team coached by Brad Hepi is going to be enthusiastic and come with plenty of aggression.
“Mike Stewart is a big guy and we’ll have to control his offloads, while Tim Bergin is someone we’ll need to keep an eye on out wide.”
Hemel Stags v South Wales Scorpions (3.00pm)
Hemel Stags coach Troy Perkins hopes to be picking from strength for Sunday’s showdown with South Wales Scorpions – but Mike Bishay looks set to be unavailable after being named in London Broncos’ match-day squad.
Perkins said: “The week off has done us the world of good. We had a fair few players missing against Oldham, but most people are now back and near enough 100 per cent fit.
“This is a pretty important game to us. We’ve lost two on the trot and we need to get back to winning ways.”
He added: “South Wales are reasonably similar to us. We lost by two points when we faced them in March, and the difference that day was James Tutuila – he’s a handful when he carries the ball.”
Scorpions coach Dave Clark has a half-back crisis, with both Kristian Hawkes and Courtney Davies struggling to be fit.
But Clark is still expecting an open clash between two sides determined to play attractive rugby.
Clark said: “We’ll see a lot of running rugby from both sides and as Hemel are one position above us in the league right now, we know we’ll have to be on our guard.”
London Skolars v Oxford (3.00pm)
London Skolars coach Joe Mbu will assess his squad’s fitness on Friday before naming his team to face second-placed Oxford.
London are currently eighth in Kingstone Press Championship One with just one win from four games.
Mbu said: “We’ve got a few people to check on, and although it’s nothing major, it’s enough for us to worry about it until later in the week. However, we’re confident we’ll have a competent team to face Oxford.”
He added: “Oxford have started well. They’ve got a few players that have played in this division for a while and, at any level, the more experience you have, the better you tend to go.
“It was a tough game for us last week, and I didn’t expect us to lose by that many points, but there were plenty of positives.
“We weren’t at full strength but we were able to get over the line three times. Now we have to move forward and put that game behind us.”
Oxford should be boosted by the return of Jonny Leather, while Valu Bentley, Shaun Robinson and Alex Thompson are also in contention.