Featherstone Rovers boss John Duffy is not making any big predictions, but wants his team to put on a good show in front of the TV cameras tonight when they take on holders Hull FC in a sixth round Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie at the LD Nutrition Stadium.
Rovers will be out to show off their own claims of being a Super League club of the future as they take on one of the giants of the top flight in their first meeting in the cup since the famous victory over Hull in the 1983 final.
Head coach Duffy acknowledges his team face a mighty task to pull off a shock against opponents who have won the competition in the last two years, but he believes the players are ready to give it a big go in front of a likely big crowd.
He said: “I think we can have a dig.
“It is going to be a massive test for us, but we’ve got to go out and give it everything we’ve got and we’ve got to enjoy it as well and learn from playing the best players.”
Rovers’ task has been made harder by the absence of their dual-registered and loan players, which means they will be without Leeds trio Mikolaj Oledzki, Harry Newman and Jordan Lilley and Castleford Tigers’ Mitch Clark, who played in last weekend’s game at Toulouse, as well as Jansin Turgut, who cannot play against his parent club.
But they have some fit and ready players ready to step in after they were spared the trip to France with forwards John Davies, James Lockwood and Luke Cooper back in the squad alongside backs Anthony Thackeray and Ian Hardman while Josh Hardcastle and Matty Wildie are also in contention for a recall to the 17 after being the extra men in Toulouse.
“It gives an opportunity to a few players who haven’t played many minutes and hopefully they’ll take it with both hands,” said Duffy.
“We’ve got some hungry players and they’re all looking forward to it.”
Duffy admitted there were some lessons to be learned from the defeat to Toulouse that ended a five-match winning run for Featherstone.
He added: “We’ve got to learn from this as soon as possible and make sure we look after the players to get ready for this massive game.
“We’ve got to try and turn around what’s happened. We’ve got a real big month and we’ve got to make sure we get our chins off the floor.
“We want to kick into the cup competition this week.”
Hull are without three key players for tonight’s tie with first choice half-backs Albert Kelly (hamstring) and Marc Sneyd (knee) injured along with prop Scott Taylor (shoulder).
Danny Washbrook, Jez Litten and Hakim Miloudi have been recalled to Hull’s 19-man squad while recent signing Joe Westerman – who started out at Featherstone Lions as a junior – has also been named. The former Castleford forward featured in Toronto Wolfpack’s 17 for the fourth round tie at Kells, but was an unused substitute so is not cup tied.