Local hero Hobbs takes Rovers helm

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Hobbs, who previously coached Bradford and Wakefield, has been assisting Gary Mercer at Oldham.

"That rekindled my enthusiasm to be involved again on a daily basis," said Hobbs, who won the Lance Todd Trophy as the man of the match when Featherstone last won the Challenge Cup in 1983.

He succeeds Gary Price, who resigned three weeks ago, and he inherits a team next to bottom in the division as they go to Whitehaven tomorrow for his first match in charge. "I'm looking for a different mindset from the players," he said.

The leaders, Castleford, beaten in the league and in the Northern Rail Cup final in their past two outings, take on Oldham. Michael Eagar makes his second debut for Castleford after arriving from Hull for the rest of the season.

Wigan's promising utility back, Kevin Brown, has signed a contract extension that will keep him at the JJB until the end of the 2007 season. "Kevin is only 20 and he's a very exciting player," the Wigan coach, Ian Millward, said. "He's still improving and will be an important part of our attack."

Graham Appo is the likely replacement for Dean Gaskell on the wing for Warrington against Leeds today. Gaskell is sidelined with a groin injury, but Lee Briers and Toa Kohe-Love are back.

Leeds, who will return to the top of Super League if they win at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, have had mixed luck with their props. Danny Ward is back after injury, but Ryan Bailey is still in quarantine with mumps, and Leeds will be looking for a big performance from the veteran Barrie McDermott, who celebrated his 33rd birthday yesterday.

The Wigan-bound winger Mark Calderwood, who scored his fourth hat-trick of the season against Salford, goes into the game needing just three more tries for a career century.

Hull have included the recently signed 17-year-old half-back, Tommy Lee, in their squad to go to Widnes tomorrow. With a Cup semi-final against St Helens looming next weekend, John Kear rests two of his key forwards, Paul King and Shayne McMenemy, but has Gareth Raynor back on the wing after a knee injury.

Mark McLinden will move from full-back to scrum-half in place of the injured Thomas Leuluai when London host Huddersfield tomorrow in their first match back at Griffin Park after their month of taking matches to South Wales and France. They welcome back the stand-off Luke Dorn and include the hooker John Clough, who has joined the club on loan from Salford.

Huddersfield have added the rugby union convert Stephen Jones, the young half-back Tom Hemingway and the back-rower Stuart Jones to their squad of last week and will play the winger Lee Greenwood against his old club. They are still without Michael De Vere, Paul Reilly, Ben Roarty and Stanley Gene.

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