Bombers not sweating Fantuz return

Andy Fantuz watches from the sidelines as the Roughriders play the Blue Bombers in Regina on Sept....

Andy Fantuz watches from the sidelines as the Roughriders play the Blue Bombers in Regina on Sept. 4, 2011. (REUTERS/Fred Greenslade)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:41 PM ET

WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Blue Bombers aren't concerned about the return of Andy Fantuz to the Saskatchewan Roughriders lineup.

All they're worried about is themselves and how they will play in Sunday's Banjo Bowl at a sold-out Canad Inns Stadium.

Fantuz, who led the CFL is receiving last season, will play his first game of the season for the Riders on Sunday after getting cut by the NFL’s Chicago Bears last week.

“I know Andy is a talented receiver and he’s got some familiarity with their system, but we try not to worry about him,” Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice said Saturday morning. “We try to work our schemes the personnel and try to take away people’s strengths. Andy is a talented receiver, but we’re more concerned about us executing defensively what we have called.”

The Riders (2-7) hammered the Bombers 27-7 in last week’s Labour Day Classic in Regina, so Winnipeg (7-2) is looking for revenge and at the same time a bounce back from its worst performance of the season.

“I really want the guys to come back focused and respond,” LaPolice said. “That’s been the message all week, is let’s respond. I’m really looking forward to seeing them respond.”

The Bombers, since 1949, have a 12-5 record after losses that ended winning streaks of five games or more.

The Bombers are making five roster changes for Sunday’s game. That includes the return of starting weak-side linebacker Marcellus Bowman, who missed the last two games with turf toe.

Rookie Tim Brown will make his CFL debut as the team’s primary kickoff and punt returner.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Bomber supporters turned out for the franchise’s annual fan day at the stadium on Saturday morning. The entire team signed autographs after the walk-through, and there were plenty of fun activities for the kids. There was even a Riders fan in a dunk tank.


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