NRC Preview: Keighley v Widnes

Keighley Cougars coach Barry Eaton is reflecting on his four years in charge at Cougar Park as he prepares his side for “one of the most exciting games in the club’s recent history”.

Eaton said: “When I first joined the club we knew exactly where we were. We were totally starting from scratch and we’ve steadily built the club on the playing side of things.

“We suffered a major set back during the off-season with the administration, but we’ve got new directors in place doing their utmost to take the club forward. The club is on a good footing now.”

He added: “This is one of the most exciting games in the club’s recent history. We had the Co-operative Championship One Grand Final last year but this is up there.

“We’re delighted to be there and we’re delighted to have a home draw in a semi-final.

It’s good for the club and the loyal fans that we’ve got. Normally major semi–finals are on a neutral venue. To be having the opportunity to play in front of our own fans is a fantastic feeling.”

Greg Nicholson should return to Eaton’s line up after recovering from a rib problem.

On Widnes, Eaton said: “I’ve not seen much of them since we got a pasting off them in the first league game. They’re a good side and they’re probably favourites to win the competition. They beat Barrow in the quarter final, but we’re looking forward to it.”

Widnes coach Paul Cullen has doubts over Dave Allen and Toa Kohe-Love.

James Ford (broken foot) is also ruled out, but Thomas Coyle and Shaun Ainscough should return.

Cullen said: “We are absolutely determined retain the Northern Rail Cup. This is undoubtedly the biggest game of the season so far.”

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