Amateurs Lions aim to pull off Challenge Cup upset against York

Lions coach Jamie Rooney: "It's a game we have been looking forward to since the draw was made."
Lions coach Jamie Rooney: "It's a game we have been looking forward to since the draw was made."

Coach Jamie Rooney knows amateurs Featherstone Lions will need to be at their best to be in with a chance of pulling off an upset in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup fourth round on Friday night.

National Conference League Division Two side Lions, the lowest ranked outfit left in the competition, take on League One club York City Knights at Featherstone’s Big Fellas Stadium (8pm kick off).

Former Featherstone Rovers and Wakefield Wildcats star Rooney guided Lions to the NCL Division Three title last year.

York are coached by James Ford, an ex-Featherstone Lions player and former Rovers teammate of Rooney.

“We would have to play at our very best to turn them over. I know that if we do play to our best it’s going to be a very close game,” said Rooney.

“We are going into the game pretty confident and we are just concentrating on getting our game right.

“The Challenge Cup has a history of shock results and hopefully we can pull off another.

“It’s a game we have been looking forward to since the draw was made. A few of our lads know some of their players and their coach James Ford played at Featherstone Lions. I get on pretty well with Fordy.

“He will not be taking us lightly. They will be fully prepared for it like we will be so it should be an interesting game.

“If we get this far in the competition we deserve to get some financial reward for the club and if we get a few through the gate hopefully it will help our coffers for the next two or three seasons.

“Hopefully, we can get some Featherstone Rovers fans down to cheer on the boys.”

Admission on Friday night is £10 adults, £6 concessions and £3 children (16 and under). The game is all pay.

Rooney believes the Challenge Cup tie was at the back of the Lions players’ minds in the second-half of last Saturday’s opening NCL Division Two match against Blackbrook Royals.

Newly-promoted Lions won 40-34 after leading 34-6 at half-time.

“I am looking for a massive response after our performance last Saturday,” said Rooney.

“The cup game been on the players’ minds since the draw was made and we just want to get out there now.”