No pressure on Whitehaven ahead of Catalans trip in Challenge Cup

Whitehaven player coach Carl Forster says there is no pressure on his side this weekend as they face Catalans in the sixth round of the Challenge Cup.

The Cumbrians will make the trip to Perpignan to face Super League’s Catalans Dragons in the Challenge Cup, being the only League One side to make it this far.

York City Knights pushed Steve McNamara’s side all the way to the end in the previous round, but the top flight side came out on top with a 34-22 victory at Bootham Crescent.

Whitehaven will be the next League 1 side to attempt to slay the Dragons, following a successful 38-0 victory over Championship side Rochdale in round five.

“We can only dream about winning,” said Carl Forster, who currently coaches the side whilst wearing the number 10 shirt.

“It’s massive for the club overall and the fans have really embraced it. If we can push Catalans close, we can push anyone. We’re going to give it our best shot and put in a positive performance.

“There’s going to be a different standard and the pace of the game is going to be different. There’s no pressure on us, so we can go there and enjoy the occasion.”

Whitehaven currently sit sixth in the Betfred League One table, with five wins in eight but come off the back of a 25-22 loss against North Wales Crusaders.

However, Forster admits that his side will never face anyone like Catalans again this year and it will only benefit the side.

“There are good teams in our league like Bradford and York and we’re not going to play a game like this again this season, so if we can cope with Catalans we can cope with anything,” said the 25-year-old.

“It’s a nice little distraction from the league and for the club to be in the last 16 is a really big thing. We certainly wouldn’t swap this cup run for anything.”

Whitehaven will face the Catalans Dragons on Saturday at Stade Gilbert Brutus.

Having previously played for St Helens, Forster has encountered the Dragons before, but admits he is excited to face the tough opponents.

“I can’t wait. As a player and a coach, I’m really looking forward to getting out on the field. I’ve played against them [Dragons] a few times and it’s a tough ask in the middle of the park. As a coach it’s something different, and we’re representing the club and league one.

“We can afford to enjoy it. We can really step back, look at it and enjoy it as we’re going against some great players and Steve McNamara. As a coach myself, I never thought I’d go against them in my career.

“There are close to 100 fans going over there. We want to put a show on for them as they’ve put in their hard-earned money. We want them to come and watch us.

“We will see who stands up and who’s ready for it. It’s a massive task for the young players with a team average age of 23. These players would have never dreamt about playing against Catalans when they signed for Whitehaven. Anything can happen.”

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