Featherstone Rovers boss Jon Sharp is ready to face Huddersfield Giants in a game he hoped would never happen.
But that won’t prevent the 49-year-old from wanting to add to his former club’s misery in Sunday’s Middle 8s clash at the John Smith’s Stadium.
The Giants hosts their Championship opponents knowing their Super League future is hanging in the balance.
Wins for Huddersfield in their next four games against Championship opponents Featherstone, Batley, London and Leigh, and then success against either Super League rivals Leeds and Hull KR will be enough to guarantee them a top-flight spot for 2017.
However, Sharp has revealed he’s not enjoying seeing his old club having to face such a scenario.
“As a club, we’re really looking forward to the challenge this weekend,” said Sharp, who was head coach of the Giants between 2004 and 2008.
“We’ll be going to Huddersfield to give it our best shot and see where it takes us. Hopefully, we’ll give a good account of ourselves.
“But, if I’m being totally honest, I’m really disappointed we’re having to play the Giants, because I just don’t like to see them where they are at the moment.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the club, I absolutely loved it, and I’d like to think that in some small way I helped to contribute to some of the success they’ve had over the past few years.
“I’d like to think that being the coach who got us to the Challenge Cup final for the first time in over 40 years (against St Helens at Twickenham in 2006) and then reach the play-offs for the first time the following season helped strengthen considerably the Giants Super League foundations at the time.
“So I was absolutely thrilled when they won the Super League Leaders Shield a couple of years ago.
“It was a fitting reward for the many people at the club who have put in such an incredible amount of hard work over the years to make it happen.
“I just hope that what we’re seeing at the moment is just a temporary blip and that they’ll come back stronger.
“So far, I’ve heard nothing but good things about their new coach, Rick Stone, and I do genuinely wish him the best of luck in the future.
“Having said that, it doesn’t mean he’ll be getting any favours for me on Sunday afternoon, though!”
TAKE a look at the Giants season so far in pictures below
Sharp’s Rovers didn’t have the best preparation for the visit, having seen his side suffer a 62-6 home thrashing a the hands of Leeds Rhinos on Saturday.
But he’s still looking forward to making the trip to his former ‘home’ – and trying to avoid making himself look foolish in the process!
“This will be the first time I’ve been back to the stadium as a rival coach, so it may seem a bit strange,” added the former Hull loose-forward.
“I remember I played 11 years for Hull and then signed for Featherstone Rovers, and the first time I went back to Hull I went to the wrong dressing room!
“Hopefully, I won’t make that mistake this weekend.
“There’s no question it’ll take a bit of getting used to being in the opposite dug-out and coaching against the claret and gold, but I can’t let that affect what I’m doing.
“After losing to Leeds in the manner we did last weekend, all my focus and that of my players is on making sure we learn the lessons of what went on that day and be better prepared for the other big challenges we’ve got coming up.
“And there’s no doubt that going to the home of the Giants is going to be a big challenge for us.”