Wakefield coach Chris Chester insists his side are capable of another impressive run in the Challenge Cup this season: but says they won’t underestimate Friday night’s opponents as they enter the competition.
Chester is no stranger to cup runs; in 2015 he guided Hull Kingston Rovers to the final before following that up 12 months later by getting Wakefield through to the last four during his first season in charge.
Trinity’s quest to reach Wembley begins on Friday night at Dewsbury – and Chester told TotalRL they will give the Rams the “respect they deserve”.
He said: “We’ve had a couple of positive wins but now we’ve got a tricky cup tie at Dewsbury.
“It’s a small pitch, it’s never a nice place to go and it’s nice and compact. We’re going to give them the respect they deserve though; we’ve gone with a pretty strong side.
“We’re giving Kirmo, Bish, Jacob Miller and a few of the other guys who have played some big minutes in the last few weeks a break. However, we’ve gone with a strong 17 beyond that and we’re not taking anything for granted this week.”
However, after reaching the last four in 2016, Chester admits he knows all too well what the momentum of a cup run can do for both his team and his home town.
“We had a great run last year and there’s no reason we can’t do that again this year,” Chester said.
“A lot is to do with luck regarding who you draw, but we’ll fancy anyone at home if we can knock this one off. It gave the whole town a big lift last year, did the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup. We want to do something very similar and we’ll take each round as it comes, but we won’t be taking Dewsbury lightly or for granted. They’ve nothing to lose.
And after already replacing their coach this season, Chester admits the Rams are getting better under Neil Kelly as the weeks progress.
He said: “We’ve seen a lot of Dewsbury this year with people like Max Jowitt going out on dual-registration there. What we’ve got to be careful of is that there’s been a couple of upsets already this year so we’re treating Dewsbury with the respect they definitely deserve. We’re just looking for a professional performance this week.
“They’re steadily improving. They’ve been in games up until half-time then they’ve died off for one reason or another. They’re scoring some points which they couldn’t do at the start so they’re going to test us – it’s a cliche but we’ve got to focus on what we do. We want to defend strong.”