Normanton Knights host the Edinburgh Eagles at the Graveyard this weekend as the first round of the Challenge Cup gets underway.
The Knights enjoy a terrific record in the competition, including a couple of recent appearances in the fourth round, and will be hoping to preserve that tag when they welcome their opponents this Saturday afternoon.
Despite their record, head coach Paul Seal has rejected the ‘favourites’ tag and admits his team are in for a tough encounter.
He said: “People say that we’re favourites but to be honest this game is a bit of an unknown. We’re expecting a tough battle, a big physical battle. No team ends up getting into the Challenge Cup if they’re not a good side.
“We like a good run in the cup. Last year we got to round four, year before we got to round three.Generally, we do quite well in Challenge Cup and the team is looking forward to Saturday’s game.”
Normanton were relegated from NCL’s top tier last season. However, despite dropping into division one, the team has kept their main bulk of players.
Speaking about the preparation ahead of this cup fixture, Seal said: “Because we’re not going to get to know much about them, it’s difficult. We will have to prepare like we would do for any other league game.
“This will be our first hit out this year. We didn’t play any friendlies. Nevertheless, it’s been tough to pick a 17 with everyone fit and training well in pre-season.”
The head coach also argued that home advantage may not play that big of a factor saying: “Home advantage? You can say that it is an advantage but at the end of the day, it’s a field. Just because it’s in Normanton and not in Edinburgh doesn’t really make much difference.”