ST HELENS’ England centre Michael Shenton believes Challenge Cup opponents Featherstone Rovers will have been boosted by the way the Giants destroyed his side in last weekend’s Super League clash.
The Co-operative Championship club head to St Helens on Sunday having been written off by almost everyone.
But former Castleford ace Shenton knows Rovers will have taken a great deal of heart from the way Huddersfield tore injury-hit Saints apart at the Galpharm as they secured a convincing 40-18 victory.
And he is convinced that will make Featherstone an even more dangerous opponent.
“They will have seen what happened to us at Huddersfield last week and fancy they can do the same,” said Shenton.
“We know we have to improve and have trained accordingly, because we know this is going to be a big challenge for us.
“Featherstone have a great Challenge Cup tradition and they will see this game as their chance to grab another place in Cup folklore.
“They’ll be fired-up at the chance to play against Super League opposition and this is a massive game for them.
“I’ve played in Cas teams beaten by Championship opposition and it’s not a good feeling. It’s also something I don’t want to experience again.
“We got a real fright in the fourth round when Sheffield Eagles gave us a big challenge and Featherstone are going to be even tougher.
“I spent some time with their coach, Daryl Powell, at the recent Elite Training Squad camp and I know from what he said that they’re not going to be overawed.
“Daryl played at the highest level and is a top quality coach – he wouldn’t be on the England staff if he wasn’t – so we’re expecting them to be very well prepared.”
The Challenge Cup action gets under way tonight, with three ties taking place.
Holders Warrington should prove far too strong at home to Championship I leaders Swinton Lions, while Leeds would expect to beat struggling Harlequins at Headingley.
But the Salford v Hull KR clash at The Willows is far tougher to call.
The City Reds are again under the caretaker coaching control of former Giants chief Phil Veivers, who has made it onto the club’s shortlist for the head coaching vacancy.
But he faces stiff competition from down under to getb the job permanently.
The Reds hope to appoint a successor to Shaun McRae by the end of the month and chairman John Wilkinson is flying to Sydney this weekend to lead the interviews with five Australia-based candidates.
South Sydney assistant Kurt Wrigley is thought to be among those on the shortlist, along with Veivers and former St Helens and Wigan coach Ian Millward, now in his second spell with Championship club Leigh.
Veivers, a 46-year-old Queenslander who has spent the last 26 years playing and coaching in England, was out of work for 12 months after leaving his role as right-hand man to Wigan boss Brian Noble at the end of 2009 before joining Salford in the winter.
He was elevated to caretaker coach when McRae and his assistant Malcolm Alker both went on sick leave and, after guiding the Reds to three wins from six League and Cup matches, is keen to land the job permanently.
“I’ve been waiting for a long while for an opportunity,” said Veivers. “I’ve spent 13 years as an assistant, which is a long time, but I’ve worked with some quality coaches along the way and picked up a lot of good ideas.”
Brothers Robbie and Henry Paul will conduct the draw for the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup next Monday (May 23) on BBC Look North.