BOSS JAMES Webster admits it won’t be regarded as an upset if Wakefield Trinity Wildcats are beaten by lower division opposition in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tomorrow.
Wildcats, on an 11-game losing run in First Utility Super League matches and seven points adrift at the foot of the table, will face Kingstone Press Championship champions and league leaders Leigh Centurions in a BBC-televised sixth round tie.
Leigh have lost only twice since the start of 2014 – one of those being a Challenge Cup quarter-final at Leeds Rhinos last year – and have won their last 24 matches in all competitions.
They defeated Super League side Salford Red Devils in the previous round and Webster conceded he doesn’t see Wildcats as favourites for a place in the last eight.
“They are a confident team and they’ve probably forgotten what it’s like to lose,” he said.
“They’re strong and aggressive and they’ve got two really good half-backs, with some speed in there at full-back, too.
“There’s not too many weak links in their team.
“They showed against Salford what they can do and they’ll be coming here expecting to win,” he said.
But Webster insisted Wildcats aren’t daunted by the challenge or their visitors’ recent record.
“The Challenge Cup is always an exciting prospect and we’re looking forward to what will be a big game, on television,” he stressed.
“We’re excited about facing a team that’s won a huge amount of games over the last two seasons.
“It’s the cup and that brings about a whole different feel. It’s winner take all and you get a chance to feel what it’s like to play in big, knockout games.
“We’re no different from the other 15 teams that are playing and we’re hoping to make it into the hat come Sunday evening.
“I think it’ll be a good, close, traditional Challenge Cup tie.”
Wakefield are beginning to get key players back from injury and Webster reckons if they do win tomorrow, it could spark a mid-season revival.
He said: “We wouldn’t be the first team that maybe resurrected their season on a good Cup run.
“If we are able to get a victory, obviously that’s a good achievement against a good team and we’ll move on after that.
“Our mood’s reasonably good for a team that has been struggling.
“We are fully focused on finishing the season well.”
Wakefield forward Matt Ryan is suspended and Daniel Smith misses out due to a hamstring injury, but Dean Collis, Danny Kirmond, Ali Lauitiiti, Richard Owen and Lopini Paea are all back in contention for Wildcats as they bid to reach the next round.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: from Miller, Owen, Lyne, Arundel, Riley, Hall, T Smith, Scruton, McShane, Kavanagh, Kirmond, Washbrook, Anderson, Godinet, Simon, Molloy, Lauitiiti, Paea, Collis.
Leigh Centurions: from McNally, Worthington, Armstrong, Kay, Ridyard, Brierley, Moimoi, Beswick, Wilkes, Goulden, Barlow, Pownall, Platt, Reynolds, Haggerty, Hopkins, Acton, Dixon, Hock.
Referee: Ben Thaler.
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 2.15pm.