NRC Preview: Blackpool v Keighley

Blackpool will be without full-back Jonny Leather (knee) as they prepare to start their Northern Rail Cup campaign.

However, coach Martin Crompton is confident his side can continue to improve during 2010. He said: “We’ve been disrupted with the weather but we’ve done very well regardless. We’ve had a tough pre-season and the players have trained very hard. We showed in our friendly against Featherstone that fitness will not be a problem.

“Keighley will be a big test for us, as they always are. Barry Eaton has done a great job and got them promoted so we know what we’re up against.

“It’s all about progress and I’d like to think we’ll be pushing for promotion or a Grand Final spot and I’m not afraid to say that.”

Keighley coach Barry Eaton has paid tribute to Crompton’s success at Blackpool.

Eaton said: “Martin has drilled his side really well and they’ve had a steady progression over the last couple of years. There are lots of similarities between what he’s doing there and what we’ve done here. He’s an astute coach and you can tell his players have full respect for him.

Martin Ainscough and Tom Hemingway are both excellent players and he’s made some other significant signings. It’s certainly not the easiest of Championship One teams we could have met in the Northern Rail Cup.”

Carl Hughes (knee) is definitely out while Chris Baines (strained abductor muscle) will be given a late fitness test before Eaton names his matchday squad.

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