Friday May 3
Sheffield Eagles v Dewsbury Rams (7.30pm)
Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston is without Colton Roche (knee) for Friday’s Kingstone Press Championship clash with Dewsbury Rams.
Connor Scott has been drafted into Aston’s squad as Sheffield continue to chase Halifax and Featherstone Rovers at the top of the table.
However, Aston insists his side need a major improvement if they are to have any chance of claiming silverware this summer.
Aston said: “We were rubbish (against Keighley) and I don’t know why we keep playing like this.
“It gives me sleepless nights because we talk about playing to the plan but we’re not doing it.”
Rams coach Glenn Morrison is fighting a mounting injury list, with seven players likely to be unavailable including Russ Spiers (ankle), Ben Jones (groin) and James Craven (shoulder).
Morrison said: “It’s pretty grim, but the spirit is there and everybody’s going to do their best.
“Nobody’s going to expect us to win this week, so we’ve got nothing to lose.”
Sunday May 5
Batley Bulldogs v Featherstone Rovers (2.00pm)
Batley Bulldogs coach John Kear is aiming for a major improvement from his side following their 20-0 defeat at Leigh Centurions.
Fourth-placed Batley are just two points behind second-placed Featherstone Rovers in the Kingstone Press Championship table, but Kear admits his side will need to be much improved if they are to have any hope against Rovers.
Kear said: “Last week was the worst we’ve played all season. We didn’t do ourselves justice after what we’d shown earlier in the season. It was disappointing, but it’s only the second time I’ve come away from a game feeling like that this season.
“We’ve got to comeback with something special this week because we’re playing the benchmark team in the competition.”
Kear has doubts over Miles Greenwood, Ash Lindsay and George Flanagan, while dual-registered Anthony Mullaly is also unavailable.
Kyle Briggs, Matt James and Sam Smeaton are all missing for Rovers, who recorded an impressive 40-18 win over league leaders Halifax last week.
Doncaster v Keighley Cougars (3.00pm)
Doncaster are set to receive a double boost for the visit of Keighley Cougars, with Shaun Leaf and Mike Emmett both set to return to Tony Miller’s squad.
Leaf has recovered from a knee injury while Emmett has served a one-match suspension, giving Miller increased options as the Dons look to bounce back from a 24-14 defeat at Whitehaven.
But Cougars coach Paul March admits Keighley will be carrying the scars of a pre-season defeat into Sunday’s match at the Keepmoat Stadium.
March said: “We played them in pre-season and they gave us a bit of going over, so we’re on a revenge mission. We’ll see what happens, but it should be a tough game.”
Scott Leatherbarrow is out with a shoulder injury while Richie Barnett (broken leg) is also sidelined.
March said: “We’re thin on numbers, but hopefully we can build on the performance against Sheffield Eagles.
“It’s a big open pitch at Doncaster and that’s what we’ve been wanting. Hopefully it’ll be a dry track as well.”
Halifax v Barrow Raiders (3.00pm)
Halifax coach Karl Harrison has challenged his side to be more composed as they prepare for Sunday’s visit of Barrow Raiders.
Halifax fell to their first defeat of the Kingstone Press Championship season when they went down 40-18 at Featherstone Rovers last week.
Harrison said: “There was a lack of composure all game. Everything looked a bit rushed and we never performed to our ability.
“The good news is that, despite the score, we are not a million miles away.”
Barrow will travel to Yorkshire full of confidence after collecting their third win of the season in a 36-16 triumph over Swinton Lions.
But coach Darren Holt has warned his players that they must produce consistent performances if they are to achieve their goals.
Holt said: “We’ve got some very tough away games coming up and we’ve just got to keep on fighting.”
Workington Town v Hunslet Hawks (3.00pm)
Workington Town coach Gary Charlton is without Brett Phillips as they look to maintain their impressive form with a fourth successive win.
The Cumbrians have seen off Dewsbury Rams, Whitehaven and Carcassonne in their last three matches.
But Charlton is not underestimating the threat posed by a Hunslet Hawks team that last week overcame York City Knights.
Charlton said: “They’re a handy team, they’re winning and that makes them very challenging, but we’ve got maximise our games at home and get wins against those teams around us.”
Hunslet pair Danny Grimshaw and Liam Welham face late fitness tests.
Hawks coach Barry Eaton said: “We were really pleased with how we played last week, but we need to be on our game again this week.
“Workington look like a very good side. They’ll be full of confidence and they’ve got lots of good, experienced players in their side.”
York City Knights v Leigh Centurions (3.00pm)
York City Knights coach Gary Thornton is without Jack Lee (knee) and Sam Scott (neck). York captain James Ford is also doubtful after suffering an injury against Hunslet last week.
Thornton said: “Leigh had a great result last week, so we’re expecting a tough one. Any game against a top five side is going to be hard and this is no different.
“Our home form has been terrific this year. We’ve won four out of five at home this year and we’ll go into it confident because of that.”
Steve Maden is available for Leigh Centurions, while Jonny Pownall could also be included.
Centurions coach Paul Rowley is aiming to maintain his side’s form after last week’s 20-0 win over Batley Bulldogs.
Rowley said: “It was an emotional day; it was like a Cup final experience. It wasn’t a significant day to many people, but it will live long in the memory of everyone in that dressing room.”
He added: “York have come up with some huge results at home. They’ll be confident and they’ve every right to be. This is a really tough fixture.”