Featherstone Rovers coach Andy Hay will not underestimate League One North Wales Crusaders in Sunday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup fifth round tie at Wrexham.
Last season Rovers trounced the Welsh team 66-0 at Big Fellas Stadium in the competition’s fourth round and also completed a league double over them but Hay will not take anything for granted this weekend.
“We won’t be taking them lightly at all,” he said.
“I think Crusaders are a much improved team from last year. They beat Batley 30-20 in a trial game and Doncaster 40-12 in the last round of the Challenge Cup. They will be a tough team to beat.
“The Challenge Cup still has some magic and we want to be in the next round and have an opportunity to play against some of the best teams.
“It’s another game for us to show improvement. I thought we were getting somewhere when we won at Dewsbury but then we dropped off around Easter.
“We are now looking for improvement on Sunday’s win at Batley and that would be putting two halves together. We are looking to kick on again this week and we need a performance out of everyone who plays.”
Ian Hardman, James Mendeika and Remy Marginet will be available for Sunday’s game but Aussie utility player Sam Irwin (arm injury) is doubtful.
Hardman escaped suspension by submitting an early guilty plea after being charged with striking in the recent home match against Sheffield Eagles.
Mendeika made a successful comeback after major knee surgery in a reserves match at Dewsbury and French international Marginet has recovered from sickness.
“We are waiting for Sam Irwin’s scan result but it will be touch and go with him this week,” said Hay.
“He would be a loss for us because he’s been playing very well and quite consistently but we’ve got a couple of young hookers in Luke Teasdale and Sam Day and also Remy Marginet who missed out last week because of a sickness bug.
“James Mendeika is desperate to play and get in the team so there’s some good competition. Our full-back and wingers have been playing well so he may have to be patient and wait for his turn.”