Fev legend Jimmy Thompson backs Carvell to be a hit at Rovers

Former Featherstone and Great Britain forward Jimmy Thompson believes that Garreth Carvell could be a vital player for Rovers this season.

Thompson, who played 21 times for Great Britain between 1970 and 1978, should certainly be able to recognise a good prop when he sees one.

He feels that Carvell, along with the club’s other new signings, should help drive them to near the top of the Championship table by the end of the season.

“I think Fev have had a couple of good buys like Gareth Carvell,” said Thompson.

“He’ll lead, inspire and bring the best out of those around him. You need players like him in my opinion.

“The team needs a combination of experience, skill, stamina and speed – if you have these things you won’t be far off.

“They need to gel quickly and maybe have a lucky break where after it will hopefully all click.

“We’ll be thereabouts at the top of the Championship. We’re moving in the right direction.”

Featherstone welcome Bradford Bulls to the Big Fella’s Stadium this Sunday, and Thompson, who also played for the visitors during his career, is expecting an exciting encounter.

The former forward, who was part of the GB team which won the Ashes against Australia in 1970, has fond memories of playing for Bradford.

“At Fev we’d lost all the Yorkshire Cup finals I’d played in so it was good when I finally won it at Bradford!” he said.

Peter Fox brought me over to Bradford when a lot of our players went to Hull. Bradford had been like a wave, in the 60s they were one of the top teams and then went down in the 70s.

“Then they bought us has-beens – we were a pack of old has-beens! – well maybe only I was – but we did our jobs and then had a good run.

“I was just in the right place at the right time… played with great players who’ve carried me! Peter Fox was great at making a team gel and have them playing with a great team spirit.

“He’d done it at Fev and he did it at Bradford too. One of my first games for Bradford was against Fev here and I got sent off! I don’t think I was a dirty player; even if my wife thinks I was!”

Thompson is certainly relishing the chance to see his two former sides battle it out.

“It’s brilliant. It reminds me of days with two great clubs playing each other,” he said.

“It will be a great game and a great challenge. Bradford will be up for it with James Lowes. Andy (Hay) will be wanting to win. I feel like I’m back home!

“I’ll be rooting for Featherstone even though Bradford gave so much to me because it was Fev that gave me my chance in the first place. There’ll be a good crowd and a great atmosphere.

“I think Fev will win.”

The Fev legend believes that Bradford currently have a good side, but he expects Rovers to finish higher in the table this season.

He also expects the Bulls to fail to win promotion, as well as to lose on Sunday.

“I think they’ll be under Featherstone, top half a dozen,” he added.

“They’ve got to get team spirits, they’ll be a bit down after last season and they’ve got to get used to the new division.

“They’ve lost some good players. Like Fev they’re wanting to take an upwards step but Fev are building but Bradford have fallen back into this position.

“This year will be a learning curve. They will improve but they’ll be a team of learners at the moment.”

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