WAKEFIELD TRINITY got exactly the sort of draw they wanted in the sixth round of the Coral Challenge Cup – and that has coach Chris Chester worried.
A home tie against Championship opposition was ideal, but Chester knows Widnes – relegated last year – will pose a threat tonight: “It always worries me when we are playing so-called lesser sides in games we are expected to win. It is all about making sure our attitude is right. It is a nice draw, but they are a good team and they’ve still got a lot of quality and a lot of Super League players. It will be a tough one.”
Sitting third in Super League and in good form, Trinity could have a real chance of returning to Wembley for the first time in 40 years. Chester emphasised: “It’s just the luck of the draw, we fancy ourselves against anybody at home. You need that bit of luck in the early rounds. We’ve potentially got that, but we won’t be taking Widnes lightly. We want to try and get involved in a semi-final this year, whether that’s in the Challenge Cup or Super League. We have a great opportunity in the Challenge Cup and who knows what could happen?”
Trinity will be without Tinirau Arona who suffered season-ending knee damage in last week’s win at Huddersfield, but fellow forward James Batchelor is poised to return from long-term injury. Chris Annakin and Keegan Hirst are also in contention. Tyler Randell and Danny Kirmond have been included in Trinity’s 19, but Chester said they will be rested this week.
He confirmed: “Batch is back, but that’s it now for maybe a couple of weeks. We will maybe look at bringing someone in until the end of the season, but it’s just finding that quality. There’s not a lot out there.”
Chester has had no chance to rotate his squad: “It’s been tough. We’ve been focusing on the recovery side, we’ve not had a great deal of contact work over the last two weeks. I just hope we can get over the line without any more injuries.”
Widnes will select from the players who won 32-10 at Swinton last week, plus Dom Speakman and Liam Walsh.
Wakefield Trinity: from Annakin, Batchelor, Caton-Brown, Crowther, Fifita, Hampshire, Hirst, Horo, Jones-Bishop, Jowitt, Kershaw, King, Kirmond, Kopczak, Lyne, Pauli, Randell, Reynolds, Wood.
Widnes Vikings: from Brand, Cahill, J Chapelhow, T Chapelhow, Craven, Dean, Freeman, Farnworth, Hatton, Johnstone, Leuluai, Lyons, Norman, Owens, Roby, Speakman, Walker, Walsh, Wilde.
Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 7.45pm.