Whitehaven coach Carl Forster says there was a mixed reaction to their Challenge Cup draw against Catalans Dragons, but that the club are delighted to be facing Super League opposition.
The Cumbrians have beaten two Championship clubs – Dewsbury and Rochdale – to get to this stage and are the only League One team left in the last 16.
Ahead of them is a first ever trip to Perpignan to face the Dragons in a fortnight’s time.
Forster said: “The club wanted a home draw I think, but we’re just glad to be in the round.
“We’re made up to be facing Super League opposition, everyone at the club deserves that and hopefully we’ll have a good weekend away in France.
“We’ll surely get some revenue from it and let’s be honest, we never expected to be in this round and so the boost we’ll get from the prize money is nice.”
The two clubs have met once before, back in May 2007, when Catalans won 24-14 at Whitehaven in front of a 3,008 crowd on what was probably not a too dissimilar occasion to the one the Dragons faced last weekend when they saw off York City Knights.
Forster added: “We would have preferred it at the Rec and going to the south of France does make it a lot tougher.
“But we’ll take a lot of belief from what York were able to do. Catalans have got two tough games against Hull and Saints in the next fortnight.
“The part-time lads don’t get away much so it’ll be good for the team bonding, you can’t really buy that time together. We went away to Toronto last year but with the time difference and all the other bits relating to that, it really affected performances for a few weeks.
“There’s been a few messages today and the boys are happy to be getting a bit of sun and having a few days away, so we’re really looking forward to it.”
Before that, Whitehaven face a trip to Keighley on Sunday and a home game against North Wales Crusaders the following week.
Currently fourth in the League One table, they have now won six games in a row in all competitions.
“It’s good to keep that winning mentality going and show how good we can be, and seeing off Championship opposition in Rochdale gives us confidence to go out against Keighley this weekend.
“The league is wide open this year. It seems that most weeks there is a tough game now, at a high intensity, and some of the money that teams are spending around us can only be good for the competition.
“Everyone wants to get in to the Championship but we’ll just go week by week, pick up the wins, hopefully get in that top five play-off and go from there.”