Hunslet under no pressure in Keighley Cougars clash says coach Alan Kilshaw

Alan Kilshaw. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.Alan Kilshaw. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Alan Kilshaw. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
There is no pressure on Hunslet going into Friday's visit of Keighley Cougars in Betfred League One, coach Alan Kilshaw insists.

Cougars have won their opening two games and Kilshaw reckons they will go into this evening’s showdown as favourites.

“Keighley have spent a huge amount on and off the field and have a wealth of experience,” he said.

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“There is a lot of pressure on them externally and internally.

“Our boys can play without fear and will have the freedom to express themselves without having the favourite tag around their necks.”

Hunslet are on the back of a 44-20 defeat at Rochdale Hornets five days ago, but Kilshaw expects a response from his side.

He said: “Everyone is excited for it, a home derby under the lights on Easter weekend.

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“If you can’t get up for these games then you shouldn’t be playing.

“We have had great support behind us so far and we know that the fans are totally behind what we’re doing here.

“It’s important we repay that faith with a big performance.”

Loan signings Connor Moore, Daniel Okoro - both from Hull KR - and Cole Oakley, of Halifax, are included in Hunslet’s initial 21-man squad.

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In the Championship, James Brown will make his 150th appearance for Batley Bulldogs if selected for tonight’s derby at home to Dewsbury Rams (6.30pm)

Teammate Jason Walton, who had a spell at Dewsbury, is one appearance away from 200 for his career.

Bulldogs have the upper hand in recent derbies, having won seven of the last 10, but Rams triumphed 31-24 when the side last met, at Mount Pleasant, in September, 2022.

Leaders Featherstone Rovers will celebrate the 55th anniversary of their first Challenge Cup win when they play host to third-placed Barrow Raiders - who were their opponents at Wembley in 1967 - today (6pm).

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The trophy will be on display at the game and players from Rovers’ three Challenge Cup-winning sides will take part in a lap of honour.

Hunslet (v Keighley): from Watson, Reittie, Render, Mossop, Hartley, Mallinson, Hallas, Whiteley, Jordan-Roberts, Syme, Berry, O’Hanlon, Jones-Bishop, Paga, Beer, Moorhouse, Sanderson, Moran, Moore, Okoro, Oakley.

Referee: Kevin Moore (Normanton).

Kick-off: Today, 7.30pm.

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