Hunslet Hawks will be without three players with Super League experience for Sunday’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup fifth round tie at holders Wigan Warriors.
Hawks’ casualties include half-back brothers Tom and James Coyle, who began their career at Wigan and both played in the top-flight for the current Super League champions before dropping down to the lower divisions.
Coach Barry Eaton said: “We are going to be without James and Tom. James played against Oldham on Good Friday with a sprained ankle he picked up in training and he’s not going to recover in time.
“Tom’s still not right from his pectoral strain and he’ll be missing as well.”
Also unavailable is prop Michael Haley, who played one Super League game for Leeds Rhinos, in 2008.
“He has got a niggling hamstring strain,” Eaton reported. “Every time he tries to get back into full training he feels it a bit.
“He’s not quite right, but we have got a week off after Wigan and then we play South Wales away and we hope to have everybody right by then.”
Eaton added: “We have been playing with three pivots for the last couple of games, with James Coyle and Danny Ansell in the halves and Danny Grimshaw at loose-forward.
“Danny Grimshaw will move into the halves alongside Danny Ansell and Liam Mackay will come back in at loose-forward.”
Whatever the result on Sunday, Hawks are determined to enjoy the occasion.
The Kingstone Press Championship One leaders have sold 215 tickets for the tie and will be taking three supporters’ coaches for their first meeting with Wigan in the summer era.
Wigan have won all their previous seven Challenge Cup games against Hunslet, the most recent being the 1965 final at Wembley.
Wigan beat Bradford Bulls 84-6 in Super League on Monday, but coach Shaun Wane – who coached the Coyle brothers in Warriors’ lower grades – insisted: “I just want to win the game. If you don’t turn up ready to do the tough stuff, you get your fingers burned. We have to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“It’s important we turn up with a good attitude and we start the game well and if we do that, it should get us the win – but we need to do the right things at the right time.
“They will be looking forward to coming here and putting a good performance on and we need to make sure we can nullify that.”
With Leeds Rhinos next up for Wigan – at Headingley a week today – Wane is likely to rest some of his key men, but insisted he will field a strong side.
“I want to get into the next round and I am going to pick a team that’s hopefully going to get us a win,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Featherstone Rovers coach John Bastian has two injury concerns, but is hopeful of not having to change a winning team ahead of Sunday’s tie at Leigh Centurions.
Rovers are second in the Kingstone Press Championship, four points adrift of their cup hosts, who have won all their eight league games so far.
Bastian said: “Andy Kain has got a bit of a dead leg, but I expect him to be fit. Steve Crossley’s got a knee injury. We’re hoping he will be fit as well, but we will monitor those two.
“We have been going well and the team we’ve had out for the last three or four games has been pretty consistent.They have found some pretty good form, so I don’t envisage many changes to the squad this week.”