Fryston Warriors coach Danny Bolton is relishing Saturday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup third round tie against Keighley Cougars at Featherstone’s Big Fellas Stadium (3pm kick-off).
Bolton is confident the reigning Pennine League champions, who are still unbeaten in all competitions this season. can give an excellent account of themselves against semi-professional League One opponents
And he believes the Warriors could pull off an upset if the bounce of the ball goes their way.
“We are buzzing and really looking forward to it,” said Bolton.
“We are not over confident but I think we are in with a chance of causing an upset. Obviously a few things have to go our way but the guys will be up for it.
“It will not be like a normal Pennine League game. There will be periods when Keighley will come at us and we are going to have to dig deep.
“Our goalline defence has been good this season and it’s going to come under pressure on Saturday. We will see where we actually are.”
Bolton watched Keighley’s 30-22 home win over Doncaster in the League One Cup last Sunday.
He added: “They are a good side and they’ve also got plenty of pace out wide but with the luck of the ball we could have a chance.
“I am sure they be will looking at our strike players as well because we’ve got players who could play at their level.”
Fryston can take confidence from impressive wins in the opening two rounds. They beat neighbours Normanton Knights 33-10 before defeating London Chargers 40-16 in the capital.
“We had a big challenge in London. We had a long bus journey there and then faced a very good side,” added Bolton.
“We had a penalty count of 29-5 against us down there. We certainly can’t afford to give Keighley 29 penalties so good discipline will be one of the main things I will look for on Saturday. Many of the penalties we conceded against London were for technical offences.”
With Aaron Dobek available after suspension, Fryston will be at full-strength.
Their team will feature former Keighley captain Paul Handforth, who joined the Warriors in January, and another ex-Cougars player Jack Lee.
Keighley’s side could include Sean Hesketh who started the season playing with Fryston.
“Everyone is fit and ready to go,” said Bolton.
“I suppose the starting 13 near enough speaks for itself but there are plenty of options for the bench.
“I’ve got at least seven forwards who are pushing for two spots on the bench and they are all good players who could give something different to the team.
“Dezi Cogan is now back after recovering from a shoulder injury and he’s has been on fire for us. He’s been a stand-out player.
“I’m also expecting a big game from Jack Smith who has been a bit quite recently but before Christmas he was almost carrying the pack.”
The signing of ex-Ireland international half-back ‘Tiger’ Handforth, the former Wakefield Trinity, Featherstone Rovers, Castleford Tigers, Doncaster, Batley Bulldogs, Halifax and Keighley player, has given Fryston a big boost.
“We lost our captain Scott Horner and it took some getting used to,” said Bolton.
“We signed Tiger Handforth and he is playing well and giving us everything we were missing in terms of game management. Players are now performing better playing alongside him.”
Fryston had initially hoped to have Saturday’s tie at Castleford Tigers’ Mend-A-Hose Jungle but their request to play there was turned down.
“I was really disappointed with Castleford Tigers and how they dealt with us,” said Bolton.
“We are their local amateur side and they are our Super League team and that’s what everyone aspires to.
“We had to make a decision by 5pm last Thursday. Cas Tigers just left us hanging about all day. When they did come back to us they said they had an Academy game on the Thursday night and we were playing on the Saturday and they didn’t want to risk the pitch.
“On a positive note, Featherstone Rovers have been absolutely fantastic with us.
“The support we have received from them has been nothing short of superb.
“Rovers have taken a great deal of pressure away from us. We felt as though we may be forced to reverse the fixture and go to Keighley at one stage, but Featherstone have pulled out all the stops to make it happen for us. We cannot thank them enough.”
Rovers general manager Davide Longo said: “We are absolutely delighted to be hosting this game on behalf of Fryston Warriors.
“It promises to be a fantastic occasion for everyone involved and supporting the local amateur game is something this club takes real pride in.
“We have been working closely with Fryston to ensure the gameday works swiftly and proves a success for all concerned.”
Tickets for the third-round tie are priced at £10 adults, £5 concessions and £1 juniors and can be purchased on the day of the game.
The gates at Big Fellas Stadium will open at 1pm.