Powell looking to Raynor
Rovers coach hoping experienced wingers leads the way
Last Updated: 27/04/12 12:46pm
Featherstone coach Daryl Powell is hoping Gareth Raynor's experience will help the part-timers follow up their surprise win over Castleford with success over Wigan Warriors.
The 34-year-old, a former Great Britain winger who was sacked by Bradford last September for a breach of club discipline, is a straight replacement for Tangi Ropati, who suffered a badly-broken jaw in Rovers' 23-16 win over the Tigers.
Raynor, who was a cup winner with Hull in 2005, made a two-try debut for Featherstone in their 26-24 Championship win at Swinton last Sunday and will make his home debut for them in the fifth-round tie against the Warriors.
He is expected to go up against New Zealander Anthony Gelling, who is set to make only his third appearance for Wigan as a replacement for the injured Pat Richards.
It will be one of the few areas where Powell's men have an edge in terms of experience.
"Every bit of experience will help," said the former Leeds coach. "Obviously Gareth has a fair bit of experience, probably more than anybody else in our team.
"He hadn't played for a while and he was quiet in the first half at Swinton but he was very good in the second half and his fitness levels are improving all the time."
"Every bit of experience will help. Obviously Gareth has a fair bit of experience, probably more than anybody else in our team."
Daryl Powell on Gareth Raynor Quotes of the week
Featherstone's players have again booked a day's holiday from their day jobs to prepare for a tie that is expected to pack the Bigfellas Stadium.
"That shows the commitment of the players and it's pretty crucial," said Powell. "I thought it helped us to prepare when we played Castleford.
"Wigan pose a more severe challenge obviously, with the amount of top-quality players they've got.
"We've got some things in our favour - we're at home and the conditions won't suit Wigan - but it's about taking it in steps, breaking down the game and coming up with a good first 15 minutes and building from there.
"We've got to be able to defend against Wigan. They are probably the most aggressive team in the league and we've got to be able to play a certain way against them."
Wigan are the 5-2 favourites to retain their trophy but coach Shaun Wane is wary of the threat posed by the Championship side.
"Featherstone are well coached," he said. "I have watched quite a few of their games.
"They have a hard-working pack, a strong middle unit and they run hard so we need to do the tough stuff first.
"It is a different environment for us. The crowd will be very vocal, they are very much on top of you.
"Sky have made it their game for a reason - they are hoping for an upset - and we just need to make sure it does not happen."
Wane is certainly taking no chances judging by the squad he has selected; all his big guns are in the 19-man party, while Lee Mossop returns from injury after missing the win over Hull last weekend.
Featherstone squad: Hardman, Raynor, Smeaton, Worthington, Saxton, Briggs, Finn, Haley, Kaye, Dickens, Spears, Hepworth, Lockwood, Kain, Maloney, England, Bostock, Mvududu.
Wigan squad: S Tomkins, Charnley, Goulding, Carmont, Finch, Leuluai, Prescott, McIlorum, Mossop, Hansen, Hock, O'Loughlin, Lima, Farrell, Tuson, Lauaki, Dudson, Gelling, Hughes.
Ladbrokes Challenge Cup
Sun 17th May - Sixth Round
Wakefield Wildcats30 - 36Leigh Centurions
Widnes Vikings26 - 22Batley Bulldogs
Catalans Dragons37 - 34Featherstone Rovers
Thu 25th Jun - Quarter Final
Hull K R0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Fri 26th Jun - Quarter Final
Hull FC0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Sat 27th Jun - Quarter Final
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Leigh Centurions
Sun 28th Jun - Quarter Final
St Helens0 - 0Widnes Vikings