Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston is relishing the underdogs tag as his side prepares to take on high-flying Super League outfit Castleford Tigers in their Tetley’s Challenge Cup fifth round tie at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Sunday (3.30pm).
The 2013 Championship Grand Final winners head north to face Daryl Powell’s Castleford with the prize for the winner a place in the quarter-finals of Rugby League’s oldest and most prestigious competition.
“Obviously Castleford are playing very well and so we are the underdogs as you always expect to be when you play a Super League team,” said Aston.
“We are really looking forward to it, going to a great ground with plenty of atmosphere. I think the boys will really soak that up and enjoy it, and I know I will.”
Castleford’s Powell was in charge at Featherstone Rovers when they defeated his current club in the 2012 Challenge Cup, and Aston is sure his long-time friend will not have easily forgotten his victory.
“Daryl plotted the downfall of Castleford a couple of years ago and so I’m sure they will be mindful of that,” said Aston.
“I’m delighted he has got the job there, being a local lad and playing local players. He’s back in the Super League where he belongs and I’m happy for him – he’s a great friend of mine.”
Aston, the Lance Todd trophy winner in Sheffield’s 17-8 victory over Wigan Warriors in the 1998 final, led the Eagles to a quarter-final place last year, but was disappointed with the performance in the game against London Broncos.
He said: “We got as far as we have done in recent years when we played London last year. But it was probably one of our worst performances of the season.
“We enjoyed last year, and got a lot of publicity and profile from our run and then we let ourselves down. We could have won that game, I think we all knew that, so we want to give ourselves another shot this year.
“We will have to be very good because they are on fire and are one of the best teams in Super League. We’ll have to be good, we know that but of course we’ve got a chance. As a coach you set up to win every week, you don’t go out to lose, so we’ll see what we can do.”
Tickets for the Castleford Tigers v Sheffield Eagles Tetley’s Challenge Cup tie at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Sunday (3.30pm) are available to buy from as little as £15 for adults, £10 for concessions and £5 for under 16s.
Tickets for the 2014 Tetley’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 23 cost from as little as £22 and can be purchased by calling the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk