Sean Long on potential Featherstone Rovers transfer activity as ex-Leeds Rhinos assistant remains coy on promotion chances

DESPITE the competitiveness of the 2023 Championship, one frontrunner potentially stands out – the Featherstone Rovers.

After a disappointing 2022 campaign, in which Rovers fell at the semi-final play-off stage, promotion looks more than realistic going into the new season.

There is great optimism around the Millennium Stadium as new head coach Sean Long puts his own stamp on the already star-studded squad with the likes of Elijah Taylor, Caleb Aekins and Chris Hankinson just some of those coming through the door.

That being said, Long is coy about the word ‘promotion’.

“I would say that promotion’s everyones goal. There are all these teams here now, you’ve got Toulouse, Keighley, Bradford, Halifax, Newcastle, Widnes – I don’t want to miss anyone out,” Long told League Express.

“Everyone turns up expecting to get promoted, every club has improved, everyone has made signings and everyone turns out in their first game thinking they can win it.”

Long believes that the new recruits have not only impressed him but also their fellow players and that has, in turn, produced a greater standard of player around the West Yorkshire club.

“We had a really good squad in 2022 but we’ve made some shrewd signings, bringing in some real quality like Chris Hankinson, Elijah Taylor, Thomas Lacans, Mathieu Cozza, Mackenzie Yei and Caleb Aekins,” Long continued.

“The quality we’ve brought in has risen the standards in training and now the other lads have raised their standards. It’s been brilliant for us, they’ve dragged the standard up.

“We’ve got good strength in depth, I’ve told all the lads that we will need them and they all will play a part during the season.

“Unfortunately I can only pick 17 players for next Monday but two weeks later they will be playing. I will rotate, I don’t want to burn out any players.”

In terms of any other signings potentially arriving, Long revealed that there is room within the club’s budget to do so.

“There will be scope to bring more in but I’m happy with the squad we’ve got at the minute.

“We’ve got 29 in our squad so it’s about keeping everyone happy. There is room because we’ve made some shrewd signings so if we do need players or have a few injuries then we’ve got room.