HEAD coach Gordy Long believes his Sharlston Rovers team is more than capable of causing a Carnegie Challenge Cup upset at Doncaster in the third round.
The Weeland Road amateurs were rewarded for their progress in the prestigious competition with a trip to face the early Co-operative Championship 1 leaders.
The game will take place at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday, March 24 (kick-off 3pm) and will see Long’s men come up against players such as Paul Cooke, former Wakefield Wildcat Kyle Bibb and Keiran Hyde, who’s recently moved to the Keepmoat on a dual contract from Wakefield.
Rovers, who beat Wigan St Cuthberts 20-19 in the second round at the weekend, will be underdogs going into the contest but Long believes his men have the self-belief to triumph over Cooke and company.
“We’ve got a chance [of winning],” said Long.
“We’ve got the belief in the team that we can go there and win and we already have a professional mentality in the squad.
“We’ll go there and give it our best shot. We’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
He continued: “I’m quite happy with the draw.
“We wanted to play against a big club and it’s nice to be able to go to a ground like the Keepmoat Stadium to play.
“It’s a local game too so hopefully we’ll have a lot of supporters there cheering us on.”
Long knows how to beat professional opposition.
He was player-coach when Rovers caused an upset and beat Dewsbury Rams 30-28 in the same competition in 2004.
But he says his side need to improve on the weekend win over St Cuthberts if they’re to stand a chance against Tony Miller’s men - a sign of the high standards at Weeland Road.
Rovers had thrashed Wigan 52-4 just a week before in the BARLA National Cup but needed a late Ian Jackson penalty to progress on Saturday.
“There was celebration when the winning kick went over but there was an atmosphere of disappointment in the dressing room after,” said Long.
“The players let themselves down with the performance. I had a couple of lads texting me at night apologising for their performance.
“Their attitude was poor, we were lucky to win to be honest.”
Rovers may be looking forward to their cup clash but must first focus on a vital Pennine League game at Premier Division leaders Drighlington on Saturday.
Long believes his side need to win to keep their league title hopes alive and players will be playing for a starting role at Doncaster.
See this week’s Wakefield Express Sport to read more on this story and for all the latest sports news from around the district.