IN-FORM Underbank Rangers are determined to pull out all the stops and beat a tough Leeds Metropolitan University side at The Cross on Sunday (2.00) and book their place in the first round of the Challenge Cup.
After finishing the 2012 campaign as National Conference III minor champions, the men from Holmfirth demolished Heworth 32-6 in the first qualifying round last week and are desperate to ensure another successful season doesn’t end just yet.
But while Rangers remain in high spirits when victory would set up a first-round trip to either Bradford Dudley Hill or Eastmoor Dragons, who meet tomorrow, head coach Richard Knight has warned his side the task ahead is no easy one.
The Bank boss, who has been somewhat of a saviour for Underbank by leading them to four successive Grand Finals, has first-hand experience of some of the Leeds Met side through his coaching services at Huddersfield Giants, and knows they’re not short on talent.
“We are confident, you have got to go into each game confident,” he said.
“We know that anything else apart from a win is not going to be good enough and then our season and Challenge Cup run will be over.
“The lads want to keep it going for another game at least and they are all looking forward to Sunday and will be hoping to put in a good performance against a good Leeds Met outfit.
“I’ve never come up against them but their record speaks for themselves. They won their league last year without even losing a game and did well in last season’s Challenge Cup so I know they will be a pretty good team.
“There are a few boys in there who I coached in the Under 20s at the Giants last year and there are definitely two of them who will be playing this week.
“I know there’s quite a lot of them that do play in the National Conference League and do play competitive footy week in week out, so they might lack a bit of experience as a team but there are a lot of them who do play regularly at a high level.”.
But Knight is hoping Bank’s experience of playing together week in week out will pay dividends against what could be an inexperienced Leeds Met outfit.
Although Knight will be without four of last week’s winning team, he will find cover with the return of some key players.
“The difference could be that our boys are used to playing with each other all the time and have just finished a season, whereas they have just started theirs,” added Knight.
“But come Sunday we can expect a real tough game, and if we are not at our best then we won’t be progressing to the next round.
“But we are looking good and have no fresh injury worries, so that’s always a good thing.
“However we have lost Nick Briggs who has gone back to Australia now. Sam Hendrick has had a shoulder operation and last week’s star man, Rob Joyce, who is at a christening.
“Unfortunately those three go out but we have Kris Harrop, Dave Pawson and Stephen Berry to welcome back into the squad.”