Something has to give when Featherstone Rovers play host to fellow unbeaten side Hunslet in the fifth round of the Coral Challenge Cup on Friday (7.30pm).
Rovers have won their four Betfred Championship games so far this year and beat Hunslet’s League One rivals Barrow Raiders in the previous Cup round.
Hunslet have won two Cup ties and two league matches and, after Rovers needed a late try to see off Barrow, Featherstone coach James Webster is expecting a tough game.
“They have got plenty of good players, who have played in the Championship in the last couple of years,” he said of Hunslet. “They’ve got people like Alex Rowe, Dom Brambani, Simon Brown and Jack Lee - all good players so we aren’t going to take them lightly whatsoever.”
Rovers will be below full-strength, due to injuries and Leeds Rhinos dual-registration players being unavailable.
“With the amount of people we’ve got missing, we understand it is going to be a hard game,” Webster added. “It won’t be our strongest team, but we will play the strongest team we can. We won’t be resting anyone, if people don’t play it will be because they are unavailable or injured.”
Webster reckons Rovers results this season have been more impressive than their performances. He said: “I’m happy we are winning, but there’s only really been one proper performance, away in London. We have found a way to win every game and there’s been some great individual efforts, but probably not a polished team performance.”
Conditions have played a part in that and Webster pointed out: “We have not had any continuity in our side.
“We have had to chop and change our half-backs and we have struggled at hooker with injuries.
“We have not got in any flow as a team, but that will change at some stage during the year.”
Hunslet are aiming for promotion this year and their coach Gary Thornton is keen to see how they cope against a top Championship team.
“The players are in confident mood,” he said. “We’ve been strong defensively, we haven’t conceded a try in the second half in our last four matches and if we maintain that kind of form and play to our standards in attack we can certainly test Rovers.”