Skolars preparing for iPro showdown with Cougars


London Skolars coach Jermaine Coleman is hoping that his team can take their League 1 form into this iPro Sport Cup semi-final with Keighley Cougars.

The Skolars beat Coventry Bears last week to record their fifth successive victory, and Coleman wants that form to continue in a game which marks the first anniversary of the death of Keighley player Danny Jones in a game against Skolars.

“It was very nice for the boys and that there were so many in the team had played a significant role over a number of years,” he said.

“I was a little bit disappointed with the performance but if someone had offered me a 52-20 win at the start of the game I would have definitely taken it.

“Saturday is going to be an emotional occasion for both clubs.

“Both sets of players who were there last year will have a lot to deal with and on top of that there’s the pressure of playing a semi-final.

“I very much think it will be the team who holds their own and keeps to their senses, so to speak, that will come out on top and obviously we hope that will be us.

“Winning breeds a little bit of confidence and we’re in a rich vein of form at the moment. We’re going into it focused on us and what we need to do and how we need to perform.

“If we do that we feel we give ourselves a chance in every game. We’ve got a competitive squad with experience and quality.”

Skolars have injury concerns over stand-off Jy-Mel Coleman, who has a back problem, prop Erjon Dollapi (shoulder) and second row Eddie Mbaraga (ribs).

Keighley coach Paul March is expecting an emotional occasion, and hopes his players can deal with the additional pressure.

“It’s going to be emotional and the energy that it will take off the players might distract us from the game itself,” he said.

“The full 36-man squad are travelling down there together and we won’t know until we get there who is mentality ready and prepared to play, so there might be some changes.

“But I’m sure everyone will be fired up. My team talk won’t be much just, ‘let’s do it for ourselves and Jonesy’.

“Mentally most of us had probably prepared for when we go down there on May 21 but with the Cup draw it’s come early, so we’ve got to get our heads around that. If we perform as best we can, I’m sure we will come out on top.”