Friday night Challenge Cup previews

Featherstone Lions v York City Knights (8.00)

Featherstone Lions coach Jamie Rooney, who had a highly successful playing career, is looking forward to locking horns with a professional side for the first time in his coaching career. “It’s a big game and something I’m really looking forward to,” he said. “It’s a fantastic draw for us and a big challenge but it’s something all the players are buzzing about.

“There’s a bit of extra spice there with Ryan Mallinder who is a Fev lad and also their coach James Ford being a former Rovers player so it should be a good tussle. It’s a big game for our boys and probably will be the biggest game they will ever be involved in for the Lions.

“Every single player from 1 to 17 is a local lad. We have players who could definitely play at a higher level and they are looking forward to testing themselves on Friday.”

The match is being played at The Big Fellas Stadium, Post Office Road, Featherstone.

Leigh Centurions v London Broncos (8.00)

Kingstone Press Championship leaders Leigh Centurions maintained their 100 per cent record with a 40-6 win over Featherstone Rovers last week. Their coach Paul Rowley believes it was their best performance to date. “Whilst the score line was tight in the first half, I thought we did a lot of good work that took a lot of energy from Featherstone and that paid dividends. We reaped the rewards later in the game,” he said.

Looking ahead to the Cup tie with London Broncos, whom they have already beaten this season, he said: “I’ve watched them quite a lot and they look like they’re getting the bit between their teeth, they’re enthusiastic and look like they’ve got a bit of venom in them and that makes them dangerous. They’ll have two new pivots, so it’s a bit of the unknown for us and them so we expect a tough game. You can’t have a team with so many Super League and NRL appearances between them that aren’t capable of doing it on the day.”

Andrew Henderson’s Broncos go into the game on the back of a defeat at Whitehaven: “We were very disappointed with our level of performance at Whitehaven,” he said. “We had a plan to beat Whitehaven but we disrespected the ball too often and poor completion rates allowed Whitehaven some good field position, they kept things pretty simple but pretty effective.

“Things don’t get any easier for us this Friday. We travel away to Leigh and don’t have any of our loan or dual reg players available and with the injuries we have, we are down to our last 19 players. We’re facing some adversity as a group at the moment but I’m confident with some hard work and honesty we can turn it around. But it’s going to be a tough proposition for us on Friday.”