Featherstone Rovers expecting York City Knights to deliver season's-best performance in 1895 Cup final
YORK CITY Knights have won just four of their 13 Championship games this year but Featherstone Rovers head coach James Webster is in no mood to take them lightly this weekend.
The two sides do battle in an all-Yorkshire 1895 Cup final at Wembley on Saturday, as Featherstone aim to win a trophy in their centenary season.
The league fortunes of the two have varied dramatically this year, with Rovers unbeaten in all 12 of their games while the Knights sit one place above the relegation zone.
Featherstone warmed up for Wembley with a 32-10 win over Widnes Vikings on Sunday while York were beaten 50-20 by London Broncos last weekend.
Webster’s side have blown plenty of teams away this year but their narrowest win came against the Knights, when they edged a closely-fought affair 16-12.
“I have got a lot of respect for York as a club, they have been a real success story of British rugby league over the last two or three years,” said Webster.
“Their form is a lot better than their position in the league suggests. They have been pretty unlucky, with some key players unavailable in key positions.
“York always rise when they play Featherstone, it is always a big game. Very rarely is there much between the two sides.
“We are expecting the best of York come Saturday.
“They are a good team with a lot of good, experienced players that can do it on the big stage. They will be pumped and ready to go.
“Why their position doesn’t dictate how good they are, I am not sure but you take York lightly at your own peril.
“We are preparing really strongly for what we expect to be York’s best performance of the season.”
There will be 45,000 fans in Wembley as Featherstone take on York before neighbours Castleford Tigers do battle with St Helens for the Challenge Cup.
Webster added: “It is fantastic, I think both clubs have sold a fantastic amount of tickets.
“We are on first so that second half especially will be a really good moment for the players.
“For any club to be able to get to Wembley, it is a special place, not only in British sport but the entire world.
“We are looking forward to it as a team and as a club.
“Featherstone fans are renowned for being loyal and supporting their team. People quite happily come out and talk about the size of Featherstone but as a club it is the centre-piece of the community.
“The people are proud of and support their club and that has been the case for 100 years.
“We are going to be extremely well supported down in London.”
Featherstone celebrate their 100th year since forming this season and with just three wins needed to reach their first Wembley final for 38 years, it was something which Webster and his side targeted from the beginning of the campaign.
He said: “We identified this opportunity [to get to Wembley] early. It helps this year that it wasn’t a midweek competition.
“This year they have been standalone fixtures and I really like how they used the Challenge Cup as qualification for the semi-finals.
“You really had to earn your place to get into it. We said we wanted to be at Wembley in our 100th year.
“It is close to 40 years since we last went to Wembley. There has been a real buzz about the town and I know ticket sales have been really good.”